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National Centre of Competence in Research – AntiResist:

New approaches to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Antibiotics are indispensable for the treatment of bacterial infectious diseases, such as bacterial sepsis or pneumonia. Antibiotics also play a central role in many other areas of modern medicine, in particular to protect patients with a weakened immune system (e.g. in cancer therapies, transplantations or surgical interventions). These achievements are now at risk, as more and more bacterial pathogens are resistant to one or even more antibiotics. Infections with multidrug resistant germs can only be treated with the greatest effort – or not at all. At the same time, current research and development is unable to meet the urgent need for new, effective antibiotics. One reason for this is that antibiotic research to date has mainly investigated bacteria under artificial laboratory conditions. In patients, however, fundamentally different conditions exist and bacteria sometimes behave completely differently. Our knowledge about these processes is still very incomplete.

The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) “AntiResist” is developing new research approaches to better understand biochemical and biophysical processes of bacterial pathogens in infected patients and to simulate them in tissue models. These findings will help to develop new antibiotics faster and to identify completely new, innovative antimicrobial mechanisms and thus contribute to the development of corresponding drugs. Research focuses on four pathogens that cause major problems worldwide. Overall, the NCCR aims to bring about a paradigm shift in antibiotic research with an interdisciplinary approach that brings together research groups from the fields of clinical research, biology, chemistry, engineering and pharmacology.

The NCCR “AntiResist” is located at the University of Basel as its home institution. Seven research groups of the University of Basel, four research groups of the University Hospital Basel and three research groups of the department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of ETH Zurich at Basel will closely collaborate as direct neighbors on the Life Science Campus in Basel. The national network also includes three research groups from ETH Zurich, three research groups from EPF Lausanne and one research group each from the University of Zurich, the University Hospital of Zurich and the University of Lausanne. The network also includes one international research group situated at the Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

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