The patents, which were issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, relate to a protein within the High Mobility Group (HMGB) family of nuclear proteins. This protein, HMGB1, has been identified as an important mediator of the body's inflammatory response to infection, ischemia and injury. Increased levels of HMGB1 have been implicated in sepsis and other major inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis.
"Therapies targeting HMGB1 can potentially afford significant benefits to critically ill patients stricken with serious systemic inflammatory disease," said Walter Newman, Ph.D., CTI's chief scientific officer. "As a result, these patents give CTI a strong intellectual property foothold as we move forward with discovery and development initiatives related to this protein."
U.S. patent number 6,468,533 B1, "Antagonists of HMGB1 for Treating Inflammatory Conditions," provides a pharmaceutical composition comprised of an antibody that binds HMGB1. The antibody, in turn, is believed to dramatically reduce the "cytokine cascade," or overproduction, of HMGB1 that triggers sepsis and other inflammatory diseases.
U.S. patent number 6,448,223 B1, "Antagonists of HMGB1 for Treating Inflammatory Conditions," covers a method of administering antibodies to treat the inflammatory illness. These antibodies neutralize the pro-inflammatory effect of HMGB1.
U.S. patent number 6,303,321 B1, "Methods of Diagnosing Sepsis," provides for a method to diagnose the disease and to predict its severity by measuring the concentration of HMGB1 in the serum.