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The Making of Medicine

An Innovative Approach to Preventing Antibiotic Resistance

Our Jason Papin, PhD, is back with another cool project. I recently told you about how he had developed a new tool to improve drug development and ensure new medications have fewer side effects. Now he's tackling the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

He and his team have developed complex computer models of two multi-drug resistant bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They'll use these models to understand why the bacteria are so good at developing antibiotic resistance, and those insights may help them discover common links -- and potential weaknesses -- in other germs that are good at overcoming antibiotics.

The goal, of course, is to develop more effective treatments for both those dangerous bacteria, and hopefully others as well.

“Antibiotic resistance is an enormous clinical problem that is only getting bigger. With so many complex processes involved in how bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance, we have to use systems approaches, combining computer modeling and sophisticated experiments, to try to tackle this important challenge,” Professor Papin told me. “We hope that these computer models and experimental approaches will help us understand new vulnerabilities in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and consequently lead to new therapies to treat infection.”

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