The Dark Ages of Medicine Are Looming. Can He Save Us?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sean Brady loves dirt. He’s got an entire closetful of it, in classically brown, cobalt blue and flashy orange. It can come from all over the world, from Mongolian steppes to Little League Baseball diamonds. The exotic stuff is what he really craves, but who knows? Maybe he could find a lifesaving antibiotic in your backyard.

For the past decade, Brady has tested soil samples for genetic material that could lead to next-generation antibiotics. Though Brady and his dirt are based at New York’s Rockefeller University, he’ll be getting off the grant-application-struggle bus presently: His biotech startup has raised $17 million from Bill Gates and others to develop a new drug company. It’s based on the hypothesis that uncharted soil DNA might be fodder for new classes of antibiotics, capable of vanquishing superbugs present and future — think multidrug resistant TB, strep and E. coli.

Bacteria are developing resistance faster than researchers are developing new antibiotics, and without a better antibiotic pipeline, the consequences could be dire. A report commissioned by the U.K. predicts that by 2050, antimicrobial resistance could kill more than 10 million people a year and cast medicine “back into the Dark Ages.”

Source: Ozy (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases