During the 5th World Congress on Targeting Infectious Diseases: Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2018 organized in Florence, Italy in May 17-18, 2018, the Scientific Committee awarded Prof. Richard Novick from the School of Medicine of New York University, USA for all his scientific achievements in the field of phage therapy.
Prof. Richard Novick gave a strategic presentation about “Reincarnation of a staphylococcal pathogenicity island as an antibacterial drone”.
According to Prof. Novick:
“Staphylococcus aureus, long considered a dangerous, antibiotic resistant pathogen, has recently become more virulent, more contagious and more resistant, especially to B-lactams (MRSA) and glycopeptides (VRSA). Today, it causes a wide variety of life-threatening infections, many of which cannot be treated effectively with conventional antibiotics. Consequently, there is an urgent need for new ways to treat these infections, which annually cause some 18,000 deaths in the US.
We have developed a novel non-antibiotic method for treating staphylococcal infections. This method is based on the naturally-occurring, highly mobile staphylococcal pathogenicity islands (SaPIs). The SaPIs are ~15 kb genetic elements that are stably inserted in the staph chromosome but can be induced by “helper” phages to excise and replicate.
[…] Our plans for the future include two major initiatives: Adding new antibacterial modules to the basic system, and expanding the system to other bacterial pathogens.”
Testimonial from Prof. Novick:
“Although I have devoted much of my career to the study of mobile genetic elements in bacteria and have been deeply concerned for many years about the problems of antibiotic resistance, this was my first visit to the world of phage therapy. And it was a wonderful visit – not only did I learn a tremendous amount in a field that I knew only peripherally, but also, I found the scientific talks highly informative and very well presented. […] I anticipate the development of collaborations with several of the scientists that I met at the Congress.”
On behalf of the scientific committee