Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen causing urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bacteremia and a variety of systemic infections, especially in those with immunosuppression related to cancer, HIV and severe burns. P. aeruginosa is known for its resistance to antibiotics. Although some antibiotics are effective against some strains, even those antibiotics are not effective against all strains.
Sepsis, a systemic infection, is the leading cause of death among non-coronary ICU patients in the US. It is estimated that about 750,000 American people develop sepsis each year and that more than 200,000 die from it. One of the factors contributing to the high mortality of sepsis (which has increased more than 90% in the last 20 years according to the National Vital Statistics Report, 2000,) is damage from excessive production of cytokines (chemical messengers of the immune system). The LSUHSC scientists found that D6R was not only able to protect cells from lethal toxins, but to do so without invoking a cytokine response itself. D6R also dramatically lowered the production of one cytokine, TNF.
According to the researchers, D6R appears to exhibit a number of potentially promising attributes. It is able to cross cell membranes; it is small enough to achieve useful therapeutic concentrations; and it exhibits no apparent toxicity at concentrations 100x therapeutic levels. It could also prove useful in treating infection from other viruses and bacteria whose toxins are dependent upon furin activity for activation. Besides Pseudomonas and anthrax, these include Ebola, clostridium, diphtheria, shi
Contact: Leslie Capo
Louisiana State University Health Science Center