MEEI gets $11 million

September 14, 2011

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has received an $11 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the largest National Institutes of Health grant in the hospital?s 187-year history, to coordinate the Harvard-wide Project on Antibiotic Resistance.

Boston-The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) has received an $11 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the largest National Institutes of Health grant in the hospital’s 187-year history, to coordinate the Harvard-wide Project on Antibiotic Resistance.

The goal of the project, led by Michael S. Gilmore, PhD, the Sir William Osler Professor of Ophthalmology at the institution, is to develop new antibiotics to treat highly resistant infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and other related bacteria. Dr. Gilmore is a part of the Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology at MEEI.

“Infections from multidrug-resistant bacteria are leading complications of surgeries, from cataract extractions to knee replacements. Understanding how resistance develops in these strains will help guide the judicious and effective use of antibiotics and the development of new treatments that will benefit patients and reduce health care spending,” said Joan W. Miller, MD, the Henry Willard Williams Professor of Ophthalmology, chief of ophthalmology at MEEI and Massachusetts General Hospital, chairwoman of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and an associate medical editor for Ophthalmology Times.

Since 2005, drug-resistant S aureus has killed more people in the United States than HIV/AIDS, and it has become a leading public health concern. Among hospitalized patients, staphylococcal infection is the largest infectious disease problem, and its prevention is a top concern.

Dr. Gilmore recruited a team of investigators from across the Harvard University landscape and from the industry to develop new drugs to treat these infections. He said he hopes the 5-year project will generate 5 to 10 compounds.

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