Repurposing Common FDA-Approved Drugs to Fight Bacterial Infections

Sean Crosson investigates the growth of bacteria in a petri dish under the hood. (Photo by Sahar Mozaffari, ITM)

Sean Crosson investigates the growth of bacteria in a petri dish under the hood. (Photo by Sahar Mozaffari, ITM)

“What if we could give someone medication we can buy off the shelf from Walgreens to treat their infection?” said Sean Crosson, PhD, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Crosson and Howard Shuman, PhD, Professor in the Department of Microbiology, are trying to do just that with Host Targeted Therapeutics (HTT), a project to test generic and over-the-counter medications to see if they can be used to fight so-called zoonotic diseases, which are caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites that have been transmitted directly from insects or animals.

Last year they tested more than 640 FDA-approved drugs to see if they could fight Q fever, Legionnaire’s disease, brucellosis and Mediterranean spotted fever, and found several inexpensive drugs that could do the trick. With the help of the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), Crosson and Shuman are continuing their work to save both lives AND money. Read more about their work on the ITM website.

About Matt Wood (505 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer at the University of Chicago Medicine and nonfiction editor for Another Chicago Magazine.
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