Teaching an old drug new tricks: exploring drug repurposing to combat women's health infections

Project Details


Bacterial vaginosis (BV) affects almost one third of women of childbearing age in the Western World. Although some cases will
clear with antibiotics, many cases do not resolve and the infection continues. One of the reasons for this is that bacteria can
form communities known as biofilms within the vagina. Biofilms are protected with a slime like substance, which makes them
difficult to treat with many antibiotics, which limits treatment options. Therefore, there is an urgent need to discover new
treatments to kill biofilms. One attractive way of discovering new antimicrobials is through drug repurposing. This is a strategy
for identifying new uses of drugs which have already been approved for clinical use by governing bodies. An example of this
would be the commonly used painkiller aspirin, which is also used to treat heart disease. For our project, we aim to investigate a
library of >1500 already approved drugs for various conditions and disease for their ability to kill the bacteria and biofilms
involved in BV. Once we have identified candidate drugs we will test their activity using state of the art laboratory testing models.
We aim to assess that not only can these candidate drugs kill bacteria, but also that they do not harm human cells. It is
anticipated that this study will identify new drugs with potential to treat this infection and overcome some of the limitations of
current therapies for people suffering from recurrent BV.
StatusNot started

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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