Tufts receives patent for antibody treatment against hemolytic uremic syndrome

February 28, 2011

Researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine have received U.S. patent approval for an antibody-based treatment for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal outcome of E. coli poisoning and the leading cause of kidney failure in children.

HUS is caused by the forms of E. coli that produce Shiga toxins and are responsible for about 100,000 annual cases of illness in the United States alone. Typically, individuals will develop bloody diarrhea and recover—however, 5-15 percent of children, the elderly and individuals whose immune systems are compromised may develop HUS in addition after several days.

The condition causes kidney damage and can lead to chronic, irreversible kidney dysfunction, which can be fatal. HUS can also cause damage to the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for the condition.

The condition is believed to be caused by one of the two types of Shiga excreted by E. coli, known as Stx2 and Stx1. The Tufts approach to treating HUS, led by Dr. Saul Tzipori, director of the Cummings School's Division of Infectious Diseases, utilizes human monoclonal antibodies that seek out and bind to the Stx and, ultimately, neutralize it. In a 2004 study, Dr. Tzipori was able to show its efficacy both in vitro and in vivo using mice and pig models.

Other attempts to neutralize Stx have been attempted using other types of antibodies—chimeric and humanized—where mouse antibodies are fused with parts of human antibodies. However, Tzipori and his colleagues utilized antibodies from transgenic mice specially bred to express human antibodies—creating a safer, longer-lasting, and more effective treatment, Tzipori says.

"In addition to the other benefits, utilizing this approach of generating human enabled us to create a large number of them from which to select," said Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Dr. Saul Tzipori.

The patent is currently licensed to Sarasota, Fla.-based Lakewood-Amedex Inc.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments

November 17, 2017
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels.

Age and gut bacteria contribute to multiple sclerosis disease progression

November 17, 2017
Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School published a study suggesting that gut bacteria at young age can contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) disease onset and progression.

Molecular guardian defends cells, organs against excess cholesterol

November 16, 2017
A team of researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, ...

Prototype ear plug sensor could improve monitoring of vital signs

November 16, 2017
Scientists have developed a sensor that fits in the ear, with the aim of monitoring the heart, brain and lungs functions for health and fitness.

Ancient enzyme could boost power of liquid biopsies to detect and profile cancers

November 16, 2017
Scientists are developing a set of medical tests called liquid biopsies that can rapidly detect the presence of cancers, infectious diseases and other conditions from only a small blood sample. Researchers at The University ...

FDA to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

November 16, 2017
U.S. health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.