The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria poses a significant and growing threat to cancer treatment outcomes. People with cancer are more susceptible to infections due to the lowering of immune defences, while surgery and treatments like bone marrow transplants, radiotherapy and chemotherapy put the immune system under immense pressure. As many as 1 in 5 cancer patients undergoing treatment are hospitalized due to infection and antibiotics are the main line of defence.
A broken antibiotics market means few new drugs are being developed. Between 1999 and 2014, only 25 new antibiotics entered the global market, none of which targeted Gram-negative bacteria, responsible for most resistant infections. To address this crisis, the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) is developing new and improved treatments and is working to ensure they are sustainably accessible for every person who needs them.
Antibiotics are a key and indispensable part of cancer treatment that has been taken for granted, there is now an urgent need to address the critical issue of antibiotic resistance that could roll back progress made to date in cancer treatment.
Held in conjunction with World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) and offered in collaboration with GARDP, this Special Focus Dialogue brought together experts from the Cancer and AMR fields to discuss the issue and what action needs to be taken.
Session adapted from the planned World Cancer Congress 2020 programme.
Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director, Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP)
Amal Saif Al-Maani, Senior Consultant in Paediatric and Infectious Diseases, Director of Central Department of Infection Prevention and Control, Ministry of Health, Oman