Medical and health sciences
- Microbiology not elsewhere classified
The discovery of antibiotics in the 1950s saved millions of lives from once-deadly diseases such as tuberculosis, plague, pneumoniae and even simple wound infections. Moreover, antibiotics opened new possibilities for complex medical interventions such as organ transplants or cancer treatment, that were previously practically impossible due to risk of life-threatening infections. However, the over- and misuse of antibiotics in humans, animals (livestock) and food and the resulting spill over to the environment has contributed to the increasing emergence of bacteria that are resistant against one or more and in some cases, even all available antibiotics. Examples of challenging, multidrugresistant bacterial pathogens found in both humans and livestock are methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the extended spectrum β-lactamase resistant (ESBL)-producing Gram-negative pathogens, and vancomycin resistant enterococci. The evolution of resistant strains is a natural phenomenon that happens when microorganisms are exposed to antimicrobial drugs, and resistance traits are transferred between microorganisms through horizontal gene transfer mechanisms. The development and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is widely acknowledged as one of the major health threats world-wide3 and the growing problem of AMR threatens health security, and damages trade and economies. AMR severely limits treatment options for infections in both animals and humans, up to the point that some, previously treatable infections, become untreatable. While prudent use of antimicrobials may provide some solutions we urgently need new ways to attack AMR. Rather than “betting on one horse”we need multiple and mutually reinforcing routes and solutions to effectively address the growing problem of AMR. The prevention of resistance and development of novel therapeutics and treatment strategies is considered extremely urgent world-wide4 and in response CARTNET will train in development of new intervention strategies covering design of antimicrobials to already known targets, discovery of new, natural antimicrobials as well as in alternative therapies employing for example bacteriophages.
Finding solutions to AMR requires close collaboration between science and industry, both private and public. Within the fields of human and animal health we need to invest and keep investing in education and training of researchers with the knowledge and skills to operate at the crossroads of different approaches, sciences and businesses. Thus, researchers with training and established networks in AMR are needed to execute future investments in finding new solutions for AMR and generating sustainable partnerships. To address this need CARTNET will train early-stage researchers (ESRs) with the knowledge and skills to address these complex inter-disciplinary challenges. We will adopt a One Health approach breaking the traditional barriers between disciplines and sectors so that the trained researchers are exposed to diverse professional networks, sources of knowledge and training methods with the mind set to work across sectors and disciplines. Our research training is focused on the discovery or further development of antimicrobial drug leads as well as new therapeutic strategies relevant to both animal and human health