Beyond Antibiotics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science

Abstract

The 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) identifies it as: "one of the greatest threats we face as a global community." The evolution of drug-resistant bacteria, our over-use of antibiotics and failure to develop new methods for tackling infection could leave us without viable treatments for even the most trivial infections within the next 3 decades. There have been significant efforts by the WHO and national agencies to raise awareness of AMR and reduce the use of antibiotics, but there is still an urgent need to intensify these efforts and, crucially, to develop alternatives. The aim of the programme is to address this need.

The programme will consist of 4 interlinked work packages focussed on the core research objectives:
(1) The development of human organoid models for studying interactions between bacteria and the tissue microenvironment and larger scale interactions with the host microbiome.
(2) New microscopy methods to complement the organoid models and to facilitate rapid characterisation of bacteria for improved diagnosis.
(3) New antimicrobial therapeutics and targeted delivery techniques to improve the use of existing antibiotics and provide viable alternatives.
(4) "Drug-free" methods for treating infections and promoting immune function thereby further reducing the use of antibiotics and providing methods suitable for large scale environmental/industrial use.

These will be supported by 2 parallel translational activities to enable development of the translational pathway and wider engagement with clinical and industrial stakeholders, policy-makers and the public.

Publications

10 25 50