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Recurrent or chronic infections are an unsolved clinical problem despite the availability of antibiotics to which the bacteria are susceptible. Bacteria isolated from recurrent or chronic infections may be in a dormant, non-growing state, tolerate antibiotic challenges and are capable of resuming growth. These bacteria are called persisters. Persisters are protected from antibiotics, which target processes in growing cells.
As clinical scientists, we have the vision of improving the outcome of our patients suffering from chronic and recurring bacterial infection as well as identifying patients at risk and prevent chronic infections. In-depth characterization of both the patient as well as the pathogenic bacteria will help selecting custom-tailored antimicrobial therapy thus aiming to reduce the duration of antimicrobial treatment as well as avoiding extensive surgery, while at the same time reducing relapse rates. Improved and patient tailored microbiological diagnostics combined with biomarkers and imaging will help to optimize the necessary treatment duration.
With this research project, we aim to establish a multidimensional assessment of individual patients with bacterial infections combining clinicians, clinical microbiologists and computational biologists/scientists in order to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcome of chronic bacterial infections, namely endovascular, bone and prosthetic joint as well as skin and soft tissue infection