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Saturday, May 25, 2024

UW-Madison receives grant to develop new antibiotics

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are conducting a study in an attempt to cure the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections, according to a Monday university press release.

Using a $16 million grant from the National Institute of Health, Dr. David Andes, a UW-Madison professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health, and his team of scientists direct the research in hopes of discovering innovative cures for currently untreatable conditions.

“There are patients in almost every hospital with infections that have absolutely no treatment options,” Andes said, according to the release.

The issue of antibiotic-resistant infections is becoming progressively more severe, Andes said in the release. The number of antibiotic-resistant strains has increased while the discovery of new antibiotics has decreased.

Moreover, there has been an 80 percent decrease in the approval of new antibiotics since 1980.

The core of this problem is the inability to mine a new variety of natural resources, according to Andes. As a response, his team has begun to investigate new sources of antimicrobials, which are used to develop antibiotics.

Expanding beyond the traditional use of soil to procure antimicrobials, the UW-Madison team is studying animals, insects, plants and marine life with the aim of discovering effective microbes.

Members of the team have been traveling abroad to harvest various such sources and potentially diversify the types of antimicrobials obtained.

Specifically, the team is searching for two groups of microbes: fungi and bacteria. The microbes in fungi could be used to develop treatments to benefit cancer and transplant patients, whereas bacteria-based medicines could combat many infections found in United States hospitals.

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