MagicBullet (Optimisation of treatment with off-patent antimicrobial agents of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)) was a four year EU FP7 project running from 2012 to 2015. MagicBullet formed a European multidisciplinary research team composed of leading scientists in the field of infectious diseases; clinicians experts in diagnosis and treatment of infections due to MDR-GNB; microbiologists; experts in the study of genetics, biochemical and molecular bases of bacterial resistance to antimicrobials; basic researchers, experts in human pharmacokinetic studies and experimental infections by MDR-GNB; researchers experts in industrial RTD projects and experts in clinical trial operations and pharmacovigilance. The project brought together more than 60 researchers from 35 different institutions. The consortium included 7 European research institutions and 2 biotechnological SMEs. Besides, a network of over 30 hospitals in Spain, Greece and Italy took part in the clinical trial.
The aim of MagicBullet project was the optimization of the treatment of VAP caused by MDR-GNB, determining a gold standard empiric therapy and reducing the period of time needed for the determination of the etiology and susceptibility of pathogens. The main objective was to compare the efficacy and safety of two off-patent antimicrobial agents, colistin vs. meropenem, for the empirical treatment of VAP by means of the development of an international randomized clinical trial.
The clinical trial was the cornerstone of the project aimed at seeking solutions to MDR-GNB infections, so that the samples gathered from patients in the clinical trial (respiratory and rectal swaps samples) were re-directed to different collaborative laboratories in Spain (Seville, Barcelona and Coruña), France (Paris) and Germany (Cologne), in order to assess other specific objectives such as the evaluation of the impact of the antimicrobial treatment in the development of antimicrobial resistance and its specific mechanism of antibiotic use on the microbiome. Additionally two clinical centers (one in Spain and another in Greece) also participate in a PK/PD sub-study of colistin. Furthermore, the project relied on the participation of two SMEs, which participated in the trial designing and evaluating simple, rapid and reliable procedures to determine antibiotic susceptibility, using a DNA fluorescent staining technique and a novel microencapsulation technology in relevant bacteria isolated from patients with VAP.