The latest Interim Report published this morning by the O’Neill Commission (http://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/Report-52.15.pdf) takes up some of the recommendations made by the world’s first charity Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK) dedicated to developing drugs against antibiotic resistant infections. The report states we should ‘Make existing drugs go further: a systematic programme of re-examining existing antibiotics could test whether changing the dosing or combining them with other agents or other antimicrobials could slow down the spread of drug resistance and treat ‘resistant infections’ more effectively’. This is precisely the research programme ANTRUK aims to follow. The charity is seeking to find Antibiotic Resistance Breakers (ARBs). ARBs might be other drugs already in clinical use that when given with an antibiotic overcome the resistance. ARBs could also be nutraceuticals; chemicals in food that provide a health benefit. One of the attractions of the ARB approach is that the research will be faster and cheaper than trying to develop a new antibiotic from scratch. Also ARBs will allow us to rescue our existing antibiotics without having to develop completely new drugs. ANTRUK aims to develop a new antibiotic therapy by 2020 with further therapies coming on stream in the next decade.
Professor Colin Garner, Chief Executive of ANTRUK said “the latest O’Neill report provides the first solid financial recommendations on how to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Citing ARBs as one approach is a ringing endorsement of our charity’s approach”. Dr David Brown, one of ANTRUK’s Trustees, and a world renowned pharmaceutical drug researcher said “I have been interacting with the O’Neill Commission over the past few months. It is very pleasing that some of the ideas we have of tackling antibiotic resistance have been taken up by O’Neill”. Gram-negative bacteria which cause pneumonia, sepsis, blood infections and wound infections are the focus of Antibiotic Research UK’s future antibiotic development programmes. ANTRUK aims to raise funds to finance new scientific programmes with the aim of developing at least one new antibiotic therapy in the next 5-7 years. The charity’s scientific and technical panel has identified three projects which it will tackle over the next three years. The charity aims to raise up to £30 million, through a combination of traditional fundraising, corporate sponsorship, trusts and foundations as well as newer fundraising methods such as crowd funding.