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Phage therapy for rapidly growing mycobacteria

Westmead Institute for Medical Research and University of Sydney

Grant:
  • PhD Scholarship
Date Funded:
  • 17 May, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Jon Iredell

Research intent

This project will define and refine therapeutic bacteriophages to treat drug resistant mycobacteria that cause severe disease in the lungs, skin and soft tissue of children and adults.

What is the issue?

There are very few options for many people with infections due to the rapidly growing mycobacteria. It is a lethal infection in CF children and transplant recipients, communities of patients in which the health system is enormously invested. Avoided morbidity and hospital stay are enormous potential benefits in addition to the lives potentially save. There are dozens of CF patients in NSW with M abscessus infection alone, all facing progressive lung destruction due to antibiotic failure. Many serious pathogens in immunocompromised patients behave in the same way.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This project aims to develop new therapeutic options for very serious infections, by focusing on the notoriously difficult mycobacterial group. The student will learn to develop therapeutic combinations against a range of these types of pathogens, and to take these through the complex processing and regulatory processes needed to introduce new therapies.