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CARES is a Dutch research initiative that focuses on the development of novel antibiotics and antimicrobials.

Centre for Antimicrobial Research (CARES) in Leiden is a Dutch research initiative that focuses on the development of novel anti-infectives and the role of the microbiome in the control of health and disease. CARES is a full member of the Netherlands Antibiotic Development Platform (NADP), that was set up by the Dutch ministry of Health (VWS). CARES actively participates in the Netherlands Center for One Health (NCOH).

The CARES programme aims at delivering novel lead compounds to refill the drug-development pipelines. In addition to anti-infectives, the center has a strong focus on the interface between microbial infections, the immune system and cancer. An aim in itself is to build a strong collaborative network consisting of universities, university medical centres and companies. Some 15 groups are united within CARES, from both Leiden University and LUMC, with strong focus on actinomycete and fungal microbiology, chemical biology, bioorganic synthesis and design of activity-based probes, host-pathogen interactions, drug development, infectious diseasesm immunology and microbiome research. Major pathogens that are targeted include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Clostridium difficile, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In 2017 a new profile area on antibiotics was funded by the faculty of sciences (LU), with 6 PhD students working between leading groups in antibiotic research in chemistry, biology and drug research. Furthermore, Leiden has the largest bioscience park of the Netherlands, which offers a strong platform for public-private partnerships.

CARES believes it is vital that the public and private sector jointly take up responsibility to develop new anti-infectives and to ensure a continuous supply of novel candidate drugs into clinical trials. CARES focuses on the development of novel compounds and the translational science to bring these new drugs to the clinic.

In 2017, the NACTAR (Novel Antibacterial Compounds and Therapies Antagonizing Resistance) initiative was launched. Some fifty scientists and twenty companies are working on the development of new accessible and affordable antibioticsand alternatives to antibiotic use. Eight public-private partnerships received funding from the NWO domain of Applied and Technical Sciences (TTW). Of these, three were awarded to Leiden University and LUMC:

  • Chemical genetics to target intracellular drug-resistant bacteria. Prof.dr. T.H.M. Ottenhoff, LUMC
  • Next stage development of the novel synthetic antimicrobial peptide SAAP-148 (NESDAP). Dr. P.H. Nibbering, LUMC
  • The lugdunomycins: a new class of polyketide antibiotics with unique chemical scaffold. Prof.dr. G.P. van Wezel, Leiden University


Dr. Maribel Adame Valero

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