Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Novel therapeutic approach shows promise against multiple bacterial pathogens

Finding may offer future alternative to antibiotics

A team of scientists from government, academia and private industry has developed a novel treatment that protects mice from infection with the bacterium that causes tularemia, a highly infectious disease of rodents, sometimes transmitted to people, and also known as rabbit fever.

In additional experiments with human immune cells, the treatment also demonstrated protection against three other types of disease-causing bacteria that, like the tularemia bacteria, occur naturally, can be highly virulent, and are considered possible agents of bioterrorism.

The experimental therapeutic works by stimulating the host immune system to destroy invading microbes. In contrast, antibiotics work by directly attacking invading bacteria, which often develop resistance to these medications. The therapeutic has the potential to enhance the action of antibiotics and provide an alternative to them.

"A therapeutic that protects against a wide array of bacterial pathogens would have enormous medical and public health implications for naturally occurring infections and potential agents of bioterrorism," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. "This creative approach is a prime example of public-private partnerships that can facilitate progress from a basic research finding to new, desperately needed novel therapeutics."

Catharine Bosio, Ph.D., and her colleagues at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont., led the study. Study collaborators are from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Juvaris Biotherapeutics of Burlingame, Calif. The study is available online in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.

In the study, the researchers combined components isolated from the membrane of a weakened strain of Francisella tularensis, the agent of tularemia, with the Juvaris product CLDC (cationic liposome DNA complexes). The combination stimulated a natural antibacterial mechanism, called reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), in immune cells that ingest bacteria. ROS and RNS attack and kill invading bacteria, preventing replication and spread of the pathogens to other cells.

Sixty percent of mice in the study survived lethal pulmonary infection with virulent F. tularensis when treated with the therapeutic intravenously three days before the bacterial challenge. No mice survived when given the bacterial components or the CLDC alone, demonstrating the importance of combining both to maximize protection in mouse and human cells. The treatment also showed broad usage, protecting human immune cells from bacteria that cause plague, melioidosis and brucellosis as well as tularemia. Melioidosis is primarily a tropical disease spread to humans and animals through contaminated soil and water. Brucellosis is a disease that primarily affects animals, including humans who come in contact with infected animals or animal products, such as contaminated milk.

According to Dr. Bosio, the three-day advance treatment appears crucial to providing enough time to stimulate the immune system. Any treatment less than three days in advance failed to protect the mice, she said.

"We are continuing to improve the versatility of this treatment as an antibacterial therapeutic with respect to timing of delivery and efficacy," she says. "Meanwhile, CLDC plus membrane protein fractions is proving to be an excellent tool to determine how to safely and successfully stimulate the body's own antibacterial army to protect itself against highly infectious invaders."

The research team will continue to study the precise role that membrane protein fractions play in combination with CLDC, and how the combination affects the production of RNS and ROS in cells from mice and from humans.

For more information, visit NIAID' Tularemia Web page at

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Reference: R Ireland et al. Effective, broad spectrum control of virulent bacterial infections using cationic DNA liposome complexes combined with bacterial antigens. PLoS Pathogens 6(5): e1000921. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000921 (2010).

Ken Pekoc | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>