Bacterial infections – discovering new virulence factors and understanding antibiotic resistance/tolerance by bridging basic research and clinical microbiology
Third-party funded project
Project title Bacterial infections – discovering new virulence factors and understanding antibiotic resistance/tolerance by bridging basic research and clinical microbiology
Principal Investigator(s) Egli, Adrian
Co-Investigator(s) Basler, Marek
Broz, Petr
Bumann, Dirk
Dehio, Christoph
Jenal, Urs
Pieters, Jean
Organisation / Research unit Departement Biomedizin / Applied Microbiology Research (Egli)
Project start 01.10.2015
Probable end 31.12.2016
Status Completed
Abstract

Bacterial infections are associated with high health care costs, significant morbidity
and mortality. Especially, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and patients
with immunosuppression are at high risk. Rapid treatment with appropriate antibiotics
is crucial for a favourable clinical outcome, but increasing antimicrobial resistance
severely limits treatment options. Bacterial pathogens such as Pseudomonas
aeruginosa (a cause of pneumonia and sepsis) rapidly exchange resistance genes
(such as VIM or IMP carbapenemases) and spontaneously acquire further mutations,
resulting in pan-resistant strains for which no effective treatment is available.
Moreover, some strains carry specific virulence factors that cause dramatic
pathology and rapid life-threatening disease exacerbation. Recently, it was
recognized that in addition to inheritable resistance and virulence factors,
antibacterial treatment can also fail since bacteria show a wide range of transient
heterogeneous properties including disparate metabolic states and growth rates. As
a result, some bacterial subpopulations can even survive prolonged exposure to
otherwise lethal antibiotics (“antibiotic tolerance”). In spite of an increasing
awareness of the crucial clinical importance of these mechanisms, as well as their
underlying fundamental mechanisms, joint efforts of complementary teams of clinical
microbiologists and basic researchers are still rare but hold promise to improve
therapies that need to specifically address each clinical case (“personalized
medicine”). To this end, research groups from the Biozentrum and the Clinical
Microbiology at the University Hospital Basel want to intensify their collaboration.

Financed by University of Basel
   

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11/12/2018