Topic Overview

Antibiotics have revolutionized medicine during the past 70 years, but this has come at the cost of steadily increasing antibiotic resistance. Avoiding resistance is a major societal challenge because, unlike many other drugs, antibiotics decrease in effectiveness the more they are used. Developing sustainable solutions to this problem requires confronting antibiotic resistance from multiple perspectives, including those of the pathogen, patient, pharmaceutical industry, and health care provider. Wright and colleagues approach this challenge from several fronts—discovering new drugs, developing alternative approaches to wielding existing drugs, and better understanding the evolution of antibiotic resistance. In particular, large-scale genomics and the wide adoption of electronic health records systems have unlocked the potential of Big Data to shed new light on factors controlling the emergence of antibiotic resistance in the clinic. Wright and colleagues combine Big Data with advanced computing to develop innovative therapies for combating multi-drug resistant pathogens and, ultimately, turning the tide on antibiotic resistance.