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ENW grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO): Reversing antimicrobial resistance using bacteriophage

“Is it possible to restore antibiotic sensitivity in resistant bacteria?” Dr. Tingjie Guo wondered. “Watch me and learn”, phage responded. Dr. Tingjie Guo received an open competition XS domain ENW grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) to investigate the evolutionary trade-off of antimicrobial resistance in phage-antibiotic combination treatment.

Phages are emerging as promising alternative treatment of antimicrobial resistance-associated infections. Like antibiotics, bacterial pathogens can develop resistance to phages as well. Interestingly, in pathogens that develop resistance to phage, the sensitivity of these pathogens towards antibiotics can be restored. This phenomenon, where resistance development of a pathogen to one therapeutic agent impacts the sensitivity towards another therapeutic agent is an evolutionary trade-off, i.e., acquiring resistance to a new therapeutic agent has a trade-off that the pathogen becomes less able to resist treatment by another therapeutic agent. Dr. Guo and his colleagues will investigate if and how we can exploit beneficial evolutionary trade-offs to reverse antimicrobial resistance.

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