Novel anti-infective therapies and strategies
Theme leaders: Barrie Wilkinson, Matt Hutchings, Justin O’Grady, Lindsay Hall
The introduction of antibiotics into clinical medicine in the 1940s revolutionised the treatment of infectious diseases. However, we now face the worrying prospect of a return to the pre-antibiotic era because of the emergence of antibiotic resistance (and frequently multi-drug resistance) in a broad range of human pathogens. Antibiotics not only play crucial roles in the treatment of infectious diseases contracted by healthy individuals, they are also essential components of many aspects of modern medicine. For example, surgical procedures such as hip replacements, Caesarean sections, heart and bowel surgery, and cancer therapy all rely on antibiotics and without effective antibiotics, many of these procedures would become life-threatening and potentially impossible. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, recently highlighted the urgent need for global action to tackle the potentially catastrophic threat of antimicrobial resistance: “We need to encourage more innovation in the development of antibiotics.” Link to CMO’s report.
The development of new and improved anti-infective therapies and strategies requires a multi-disciplinary approach, involving fundamental and clinical microbiology, molecular genetics and biology, bioinformatics, natural product and medicinal chemistry, rapid diagnostics and pre-clinical assessment. It should also encompass new ways of approaching the treatment or prevention of infectious diseases. The Norwich Research Park (NRP) possesses internationally acknowledged expertise in all of these areas.