One of the major problems in medicine is the growing tolerance to antibiotics consequently there are research teams around the world attempting to find alternatives. A team in Switzerland has proposed a new means of eliminating bacteria without inducing tolerance according to a Nov. 2, 2014 news item on ScienceDaily,
Ever since the development of penicillin almost 90 years ago, antibiotics have remained the gold standard in the treatment of bacterial infections. However, the WHO has repeatedly warned of a growing emergence of bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance. Once antibiotics do no longer protect from bacterial infection, a mere pneumonia might be fatal.
A team of international scientists has tested a novel substance, which has been developed by Eduard Babiychuk and Annette Draeger from the Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern in Switzerland. This compound constitutes a novel approach for the treatment of bacterial infections: the scientists engineered artificial nanoparticles made of lipids, “liposomes” that closely resemble the membrane of host cells. These liposomes act as decoys for bacterial toxins and so are able to sequester and neutralize them. Without toxins, the bacteria are rendered defenseless and can be eliminated by the cells of the host’s own immune system. The study will be published in Nature Biotechnology Nov 2nd .
A Nov. 3, 2014 news item on startupticker.ch provides more detail about the research and the startup which will be taking the research from the lab to the marketplace,
Artificial bait for bacterial toxins
In clinical medicine, liposomes are used to deliver specific medication into the body of patients. Here, the Bernese scientists have created liposomes which attract bacterial toxins and so protect host cells from a dangerous toxin attack. “We have made an irresistible bait for bacterial toxins. The toxins are fatally attracted to the liposomes, and once they are attached, they can be eliminated easily without danger for the host cells”, says Eduard Babiychuk who directed the study. “Since the bacteria are not targeted directly, the liposomes do not promote the development of bacterial resistance”, adds Annette Draeger. Mice which were treated with the liposomes after experimental, fatal septicemia survived without additional antibiotic therapy.
Treatment developed by the Swiss start-up LASCCO
The Technology transfer organisation of the Universities of Bern, Basel and Zurich “Unitectra” has filed a patent for this compound. The liposomal treatment is being developed as a new medicine named “CAL02” by LASCCO SA, a Geneva-based biomedical company specialized in innovative technologies for diagnostics and therapeutics. The first clinical study, conducted on patients suffering from severe streptococcal pneumonia is scheduled for 2015.
“These in vivo studies strongly support our decision to conduct a first-in-human study next year in severely-ill patients with pneumococcal pneumonia” commented Samareh Azeredo da Silveira Lajaunias, Managing Director at LASCCO. “This new drug meets crucial medical needs, since virulence factors such as toxins are responsible for serious infection-related complications. These complications concern 23% of individuals affected by community-acquired pneumonia, extend hospitalisation in intensive care units, and tremendously increase the cost of care.”
A Nov. 2, 2014 LASCCO press release covers much of the same detail as the news items but is included here for completeness (i.e., my completeness issues).
Here’s a link to and a citation for the study,
Engineered liposomes sequester bacterial exotoxins and protect from severe invasive infections in mice by Brian D Henry, Daniel R Neill, Katrin Anne Becker, Suzanna Gore, Laura Bricio-Moreno, Regan Ziobro, Michael J Edwards, Kathrin Mühlemann, Jörg Steinmann, Burkhard Kleuser, Lukasz Japtok, Miriam Luginbühl, Heidi Wolfmeier, André Scherag, Erich Gulbins, Aras Kadioglu, Annette Draeger, & Eduard B Babiychuk. Nature Biotechnology (2014) doi:10.1038/nbt.3037 Published online 02 November 2014
This paper is behind a paywall.