IDR is very excited to present this inaugural newsletter for professional communities focused on drug resistance. We welcome your ideas on how we can use this newsletter to help inform and motivate people in the drug resistance researcher, policy, and clinical communities to address the policy and scientific problems we all face due to drug resistance.
But first, let us tell you a bit more about the IDR. Housed at the University of Massachusetts, the IDR serves the drug resistance scientific, research, policy, and clinical communities. Acting as a mechanism for facilitating, supporting and promoting novel, multidisciplinary approaches to the challenges of drug resistance, our vision is to put drug resistance considerations in the forefront of drug design, development and utilization strategies. In doing this, we believe that new and effective solutions to this challenge will emerge.
The IDR believes that the challenges of drug resistance will be most effectively addressed by working across disease states and by including the perspectives of researchers, scientists, policy formulators, and industry. As the only Institute in the world with a mission to accelerate knowledge and insight diffusion in drug resistance research, we are uniquely positioned to breakdown the research silos where expertise is apportioned by disease and significant sharing of knowledge or insight is neither promoted nor rewarded. We are committed to the establishment of a productive policy-science interface to consider all aspects of this rapidly changing field, and explore the policy challenges raised by the science and research to better articulate an “actionable” course for the future. If you are interested in helping formulate an agenda and approach for this multidisciplinary task force, please let us know.
We look forward to collaborating with you in 2011 and beyond!
Celia Schiffer, Peg Riley, Tien Bui and Danielle Federa, Institute for Drug Resistance
The Institute for Drug Resistance (IDR) was founded in 2009 by three dynamic individuals: Celia A. Schiffer, Director of the Center for AIDS Research and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Margaret (Peg) Riley, Founder and CEO of the start-up biopharmaceutical company, Origin Antimicrobials, LLC, and Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Tien T. Bui, the Principal and Founder of Biozen Consulting, who brings 20 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry involving in all aspects of drug and technology commercialization. IDR’s vision is to change the way communities approach drug resistance as researchers, drug developers, policy-makers and clinicians by putting drug resistance considerations in the center of drug design, approval, and utilization decisions. In adopting such an approach, novel ways of addressing the challenges of drug resistance will be discovered and propagated.
Each founder’s personal experience has led her to identify the need for novel approaches to drug resistance. Celia Schiffer’s research on the molecular basis of HIV drug resistance led her to the understanding that the mechanisms she was identifying were not specific to HIV, but likely were common to rapidly evolving diseases of many types. This recognition led Celia to conclude that knowledge of how drug targets function and evolve on an atomic level is critically important to incorporate into the drug design process on the front end rather than relying on resistance testing on the back end of the process. Such a perspective opens up new and important ways of developing compounds that have the ability to resist the development of resistance (what she calls robust inhibitors).
Peg Riley’s research on the origins of drug resistance led her to challenge the common belief that drug resistance arose because we selected for it. Rather, she believes that antibiotic capability exists in nature within bacterial communities and is central to maintaining a balanced ecology. To meet the challenge of wide-spectrum antibiotics commonly used by humans and in animals, the bacteria co-opted these same genes to create inventive and complex avoidance mechanisms. Peg sees drug resistance as an unbalanced system. Working from this novel perspective, she discovered compounds that show promise to re-establish an ecological balance in which bacteria are neutralized without creating the systemic imbalance that gives rise to drug resistance. Like Celia, Peg turned the issue on its head to create a novel perspective that opens the door to alternative, and potentially more effective, approaches to drug resistance.
Tien Bui spent twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry in both commercialization and product development roles. She witnessed multiple drug launches accompanied by high expectations for both financial and clinical results, have those expectations dashed through compromise as a result of drug resistance. Tien has witnessed the initial excitement of having over 30 antivirals available to treat HIV patients in the US narrowed to a point where only a handful of combinations of these antiviral cocktails are viable for treatment due to the emergence of drug resistance. Tien believes that leveraging basic resistance knowledge across disease states will minimize development time for robust inhibitors, and that a multi-sector focus on drug development will lead to better drug design and a quicker approval process.
A central organizing principle for the IDR is the belief that the most important breakthroughs in drug resistance happen at the interface of fields. Based on this belief, the Institute for Drug Resistance is creating forums and opportunities for researchers and scientists from academia, industry, public policy, and the clinic to engage the question “how to target a moving target”, the central problem in drug resistance. Whether the issue is drug design, development, or best practices for therapeutic use, the challenge requires research, knowledge transfer and collaborative problem solving. To support these requirements, the IDR is focused on the following:
- Creating the resources and tools by which researchers and scientists from academia, medicine, and industry can find like-minded collaborators to conduct cross-disease and cross-discipline research on drug resistance;
- Hosting conferences and forums to support cross-disease knowledge sharing and support for a science-policy interface from which new perspectives on this problem can emerge;
- Supporting the development of true industry / academic partnerships around drug design that reduce the emergence of drug resistance.
- Creating a central information portal for multiple disciplines focused on drug resistance.
Recent and Upcoming Events
- Consult the book of abstracts from the International Conference on Antimicrobial Research, held in Valladolid, Spain (Nov. 2010)
- View presentations and discussion from the Partnership for Safe Medicine’s First Annual Interchange held in Washington D.C. (Oct. 2010)
- Workshop on Antiviral Drug Resistance & Treatment Strategies 9th European Workshop 2011, 23 - 25 March, 2011, Paphos, Cyprus, website
- ICAR 2011 - Italian Conference on AIDS and Retroviruses, 27 - 29 March, 2011, Florence, Italy, website
- 102nd AACR Annual Meeting, 2 - 6 April, 2011, Orlando, Florida, USA, American Association for Cancer Research, Public Ledger Building, Suite 826, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3483, USA, website
- International Conference on Viral Hepatitis 2011, 11 - 12 April, 2011, Baltimore, Maryland, website
- 2011 SGM Spring 2011 Meeting, 11 - 14 April, 2011, Harrogate, England, UK, website
- View other upcoming drug resistance-related conferences
- Examine IDSA’s first guidelines for treatment of MRSA infections
- View a webinar on "Healthcare-Associated Infections (in the United States): States and Public Reporting" by NCSL and ETC
- Download the World Health Organization's "Global report on antimalarial efficacy and drug resistance: 2000-2010"
- Peruse a recent Lancet series on malaria
- Read a special edition of Johns Hopkins' Public Health Magazine focused on malaria
- View the Health Protection Agency’s annual report on TB in the UK
- Explore materials/events from European Antibiotic Awareness Day (Nov. 18), from Canadian Antibiotic Awareness Day (also Nov. 18) and from the U.S. CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work Campaign (Nov. 15-21)
Latest Drug Resistance Research
- Immediate treatment for drug resistant tuberculosis possible with “while you wait” test (BMJ, G Watts)
- WHO releasing negative policy recommendation on current commercial tuberculosis serodiagnostics (The Lancet)
- Serotype Distribution and Drug Resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae, Palestinian Territories (EID, R. Kattan et al.)
- Predictors of Multidrug- and Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in a High HIV Prevalence Community (PLoS One, JR Andrews et al.)
- Long-term probability of detecting drug-resistant HIV in patients starting antiretroviral therapy within the first year of HIV infection (Journal of the International AIDS Society, S. Lodi et al.)
- Shrinking the malaria map: progress and prospects (Lancet, RGA Feachem et al.)
- Early variations in plasmodium falciparum dynamics in Nigerian children after treatment with two artemisinin-based combinations: implications on delayed parasite clearance (Malaria Journal, OS Michael et al.)
- Darunavir Outcomes Study: Comparative Effectiveness of Virologic Suppression, Regimen Durability, and Discontinuation Reasons for Three-Class Experienced Patients at 48 Weeks (AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, JH Willig et al.)
- Increased detection of the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase M184V mutation using mutation-specific minority assays in a UK surveillance study suggests evidence of unrecognized transmitted drug resistance (HIV Medicine, AJ Buckton et al.)
- Long-term impacts of antibiotic exposure on the human intestinal microbiota (Microbiology, C. Jernberg et al.)
- Transmission Intensity and Drug Resistance in Malaria Population Dynamics: Implications for Climate Change (PLoS ONE, Y. Artzy-Randrup et al.)
- Predictors of adherence to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV/AIDS in resource-limited setting of southwest Ethiopia (AIDS Research and Therapy, A. Tiyou et al.)
- Rapid Molecular Detection of Tuberculosis and Rifampin Resistance (New England Journal of Medicine, CC Boehme et al.)
- Antimicrobial resistance: revisiting the “tragedy of the commons” (WHO Bulletin, Interview with Professor John Conly, Univ. of Calgary)
Drug Resistance in the News
Bacteria (besides TB)
- Advances in visualization techniques for antibiotics: key to defeating resistance (Physorg)
- Persister cells and resistance (PublicService.co.uk)
- Hacking into bacterial chatter – a potential weapon (Discover)
- Are we running out of antibiotics? (Newsweek)
- The potential of bacteriophages as alternatives to antibiotics (Food Safety News)
- New antibody targets MRSA in mice (Deutsche Welle World)
- Super changes in drug sales essential to combating superbugs (Boston.com)
- Back to life without antibiotics? (Mail and Guardian)
- Soil and antibiotic resistance (Science News)
- Tackling resistance by altering the immune systems of bacteria (CBC)
- Restrictions on antibiotic prescribing in India (Pune Mirror)
- NDM-1 hits Chinese mainland (Asia One)
- Poor sanitation and NDM-1 in India (Hindu)
- Drug adherence treatment challenges of Burmese migrants (Asian Correspondent)
- How TB hides within an individual’s body (Deccan Herald)
- MDR-TB: an emerging health emergency in Papua New Guinea (Irin News)
- New rapid TB (and MDR-TB) diagnostic receives WHO stamp of approval (Wellcome Trust)
- The critical importance of accurate TB diagnosis (New Yorker)
- Getting rid of TB will take millennia (CTVNews)
- Drug-resistant TB doubles during past decade in the UK (Health Protection Agency)
- UK TB infection rate at 30 year high (Daily Mail)
- Viewing malaria in action (Life Scientist)
- Urgent action required to protect therapy for malaria (Canada Views)
- Only 34 percent of malaria-endemic countries monitor the efficacy of anti-malarial drugs (Agence France Presse)
- New international malaria research consortium for the development of novel classes of antimalarials (Eurekalert.org)
- Identification of genes that might be under selection for resistance in P. Vivax (Genomeweb.com)
- HIV drug resistance among pregnant women in Southern India (Deccan Chronicle)
- New diagnostic kit to screen for HIV resistance (Bangkok Post)
- Starting ART combination therapy within the first year after diagnosis results in a much larger chance of not developing drug resistance (Aidsmap.com)
- High rate of transmitted drug-resistant HIV in UK (Aidsmap.com)
- Using nanocarriers to deliver treatment overcomes resistance and delivers therapy (Technology Review)
- New York State seeking ban on non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animals (VIN News)
- Animals consume nearly 80% of antibiotics in the United States (Food Safety News)
- Australia to carry out emergency summit on resistance (ABC News)
- Pollution and resistance (Newswise.com)
- New collaboration to tackle HAIs in Singapore (Asia One)
- A new idea for tracking the resistance problem: a resistance-specific Dow Jones (Science)
- Fake medicines in Central and Eastern Europe (IPS News)
- Learn about the Thai Government’s plans to screen for HIV drug resistance (Voice of America)