In 2018, the Foundation for prevention of antibiotics resistance awarded a total of four million SEK in research support to four researchers. During the spring we will present them and their projects.

Christian Giske, Karolinska Institutet, is one of the researchers who received grants from the Foundation in 2018. One purpose of his project is to prove that the strategy with bacteriophages for treatment of fecal carriage of resistant bacteria is feasible.

Christian Giske, Professor,
Karolinska Institutet

Can you briefly describe your research project?

My research project is about using bacteriophages, viruses, that selectively infect and kill bacteria, to combat carriage of resistant bacteria in the gut. Such resistant bacteria can cause infections in carriers, and finding ways of curing fecal carriage can therefore prevent the emergence of difficult-to-treat infections.

How will the funds from the Foundation contribute to your work?

The grant from the foundation will, together with other grants we have recently received, allow us to proceed with the important work of designing experiments to prove that the strategy with bacteriophages for treatment of fecal carriage of resistant bacteria is feasible.

In what way will your work help to decrease the development of antibiotic resistance?

Partly, the work could lead to treatment of fecal carriers, and thus reducing the number of carriers of resistant bacteria in a direct way. But there are also indirect ways of influencing the development – carriers are prone to spread resistant bacteria to other individuals, and thus by reducing the number of carriers we can also curb dissemination of resistance.

How is it that you ended up in the field of antibiotic resistance?

I started as a resident physician in clinical microbiology and was after a short time approached by Professor Göran Kronvall, asking me if I would be interested in doing research on antibiotic resistance. He gave me some papers to read, and I quickly became interested. I was allowed to conduct a small pilot study, and after this I was convinced it was the right place for me to be. But the road to establish my own group and find sustainable funding was still long and winding.

When can you hopefully see any results from your project?

Initial results will likely be generated already after one year, but the entire proof-of-principle will take at least two years. Later on, if the results are successful, this will also have to be tested further in patients, but that will take additional time.

How does your research contribute to the public?

In a very direct way. All of the things we do are clearly translational – we aim at producing findings that could be applicable in the clinical setting and have impact on patient care and overall management. We are largely focusing on resistant bacteria carried in the gut, and the overall goal of the research is to find ways of significantly reducing the burden of disease secondary to such fecal carriage.