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Published: 10 Sep, 2018

SEK 24 million to research on tuberculosis and antibiotic resistance

NEWS Fredrik Almqvist, Professor in organic chemistry at Umeå University, and his American research colleague Christina Stallings, receive SEK 24 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research for combating infections of the most common type of tuberculosis bacteria.

– It's absolutely amazing! A grant of this size really makes a difference and gives us the endurance that is needed to follow up on our previous research results. An added value is of course that it connects our respective universities in a valuable way, and perhaps opens new paths for other researchers to build similar relationships, says Fredrik Almqvist, Professor at the Department of chemistry at Umeå University

Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection causes approximately nine million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) and 1.5 million TB-related deaths each year. This epidemic is exacerbated by the rise in drug-resistant TB cases, making it clear that we need new strategies to fight these infections.

Within the project, the researchers Fredrik Almqvist and Christina Stallings, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine and visiting researcher at Umeå University for Microbial Research at Umeå University, will develop new antimycobacterial substances that, in combination with existing antibiotics, can be used in the treatment of both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB.

–We have developed substances that make the tuberculosis bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis sensitive to immune responses and certain antibiotics. Particularly important is that our antimycobacterial substances potentiate the activity of the frontline antibiotic isoniazid and re-sensitize isoniazid resistant TB to isoniazid. We have shown our results in bacterial cultures and will now continue with studies in mice while we develop even more potent tolerance inhibitors, "says Fredrik Almqvist.

For studies aimed at accurately understanding the mechanisms of action, the research team will interact with many important instrument platforms both at Umeå University and in Stockholm.

About the grant:

Funding: National Institutes of Health, NIH, USA
Project title: Chemical disarming of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Grant: SEK 24 million for the period 2018-2022
Project leader: Christina Stallings, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine and visiting researcher at Umeå Centre for Microbial Research Umeå University and Fredrik Almqvist, Department of chemistry at Umeå University.

More information about the project

For more information, please contact:

 

Christina Stallings, Washington University/Umeå University
Stallings lab