The Priority Challenges are indicative of the MRC’s strategic assessment of the need to tackle pressing health challenges and opportunities to exploit newly developed scientific expertise. The four priority challenges are:
- Neurodegeneration, dementia and mental health
- Prevention of diseases
- Regeneration of damaged tissues
The MRC’s commitment to funding the breadth and depth of biomedical research is continued within this sub-set of challenges as it is across the MRC funding portfolio. The following case studies and quantitative data demonstrate the impact of the MRC’s investment into these priority challenges.
AMR research leads to China banning antibiotic from animal feed
In 2015, MRC-funded scientists identified a new form of a gene in China which affords protective resistance to the last-resort antibiotic, colistin. By working closely with the Chinese government, the team was able to instigate an unprecedented policy change in 2016, designed to combat the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Learning about human infections from studies of animal disease transmission
MRC-funded research into how antibiotic resistance can jump from farm animals to humans in 2015 highlighted potential new transmission routes to infections. This work has led to a new approach to re-sensitising resistant bacteria to existing antibiotics as well as new diagnostic technology.
Modelling spread of antibiotic resistance helps develop effective hospital controls
In 2015, MRC-funded scientists designed powerful mathematical modelling techniques to analyse the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in a hospital setting. This work has allowed scientists to evaluate the effectiveness of infection control measures within the hospital, helping to implement safer protocols.
Multidisciplinary approach to AMR research invaluable in developing genome database
Research funded by several funding organisations including the MRC has helped develop an open-access database of bacterial genome sequence data. This resource, published in 2016, will be invaluable for researchers in the field as a tool for future surveillance and outbreak investigations.