Helicobacter pylori, a Gram-negative bacterium found in the stomach, is the cause of more than 90% duodenal and 80% gastric ulcers, and the major risk factor for gastric carcinoma and primary gastric lymphoma. Gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Mortality rate per year due to gastric cancer in Vojvodina (population of 2 000 000) is 400 (2008 data), while in Hungary (population of 10 000 000) is 1725 (2008). Antibiotic therapy for treating H. pylori infection, the only available in current medical practice, has multiple disadvantages: lack of efficacy, development of resistance, adverse effects, and possible recurrence of disease. Development of new antimicrobial therapeutic agents more efficient against H. pylori, preferably of natural origin, is an important and promising field of research. Thus, University of Novi Sad Faculty of Sciences (UNSPMF) and Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Biological Research Center (MTA SZBK) have developed a joint initiative to bring Serbian and Hungarian researchers together with the aim to develop a new drug formulation targeting H. pylori. Project participants have common area of research while using different, complementary approaches, collectively constituting a well-balanced consortium capable of achieving the project objectives. The Medicinal plants research group from UNSPMF, for more than 20 years deals with isolation, chemical characterization and bioactivity determination of plant natural products. This research resulted in over 56 research papers in recognized international journals in past decade. The Eukaryotic Molecular Biology Unit, Cytokine Research Group from MTA SZBK has long experience in cancer research and drug development in different animal models (more than 20 articles in past 10 years). The joining of the two reputable institutions will help solving the medical problem of regional and worldwide importance and also establish productive scientific collaboration.
Fifty percent of the population in cross-border region is infected with H. pylori, a significant type I carcinogen causing numerous health disorders leading to poor quality of life. Gastric cancer, caused by H. pylori infection, has a high mortality rate, and especially affects cross-border region, well known for its negative population growth. Furthermore, currently used drugs for treatment of H. pylori, have multiple disadvantages. Thus, there is a great need for development of efficient new formulation targeting H. pylori with fewer adverse effects. Essential oils, isolated from plants, are complex mixtures of volatile compounds and are known to possess significant antimicrobial properties. Due to complexity of their composition, bacteria rarely develop resistance towards essential oils. Thus, they represent promising source for development of new formulation efficient against multiply resistant H. pylori.
While both UNSPMF and MTA SZBK have long experience in chemical and biochemical research, none of them has the resources to achieve project objectives independently. While the Medicinal plants research group form UNSPMF is capable of preparation, chemical characterization and in vitro testing of plant-isolated ingredients and formulations, no facilities for in vivo testing in animal models are available. Therefore, establishment of cross-border co-operation with the Cytokine research group from MTA SZBK, which has extensive experience with both in vivo testing and H. pylori, is necessary for development and pharmacological testing of new formulation targeting H. pylori.