Printer Friendly


 NEW YORK, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- A powerful natural antibiotic may hold the key to treating many serious bacterial infections, scientists from New York University (NYU) Medical Center will report Sunday at a major medical meeting.
 The agent, called bactericidal/permeability increasing protein, or BPI, exists naturally in human white blood cells. BPI is toxic only for gram-negative bacteria. The NYU scientists have used the cloned gene to produce larger quantities of BPI and derivative fragments that contain the active regions of the molecule. In laboratory experiments, to be reported for the first time on Sunday, a fragment of natural BPI when added to whole blood both killed bacteria and stopped the self- destructive host responses triggered by endotoxin, a poison released by gram-negative bacteria.
 The findings will be presented by Peter Elsbach, M.D., professor of medicine and microbiology at NYU Medical Center, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Denver. The research was conducted by Elsbach and Dr. Jerrold Weiss of NYU in collaboration with scientists from XOMA Corporation (NASDAQ/NMS: XOMA) at its laboratories in Berkeley and Santa Monica, Calif.
 Gram-negative bacteria and endotoxin are causes of sepsis, which often leads to life-threatening complications such as organ failure and shock. Despite potent antibiotic therapy and supportive care, sepsis remains the 13th leading cause of death in the United States. BPI holds promise in the treatment of sepsis because it specifically attacks and kills gram-negative bacteria and also neutralizes lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the toxic part of endotoxin.
 In gram-negative sepsis, endotoxin stimulates the body's release of a variety of substances including tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-8 (IL-8). The release of these substances causes a syndrome of serious clinical problems including kidney and liver dysfunction, blood coagulation abnormalities, respiratory distress, and circulatory insufficiency. In his presentation at the Hematology meeting, Elsbach will show that a fragment of the BPI molecule inhibits the release of TNF, IL-6 and IL-8 from white blood cells. Further, he will present data from studies in which the BPI fragment (known as BPI-23) successfully protected mice from the lethal effects of LPS.
 "Among the array of potential new sepsis treatments under development, BPI-based agents may offer particular advantages," said Elsbach. "Because BPI is one of our own natural defenses, it can put an abrupt stop to the whole cascade of dangerous cellular responses caused by serious bacterial infections," he continued.
 Earlier studies conducted by Elsbach have shown that BPI is a major element in the antibacterial function of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. These white blood cells provide the host with the first-line defense against most common bacterial pathogens. It has now been established that BPI and its bioactive fragments are also potent protective extracellular agents. This role may be especially important therapeutically when the function of polymorphonuclear leukocytes is impaired or inadequate, rendering patients more susceptible to gram- negative bacterial sepsis.
 BPI was initially isolated from human blood cells by Weiss in 1978. In 1990, NYU entered into a research and license agreement with XOMA for the joint development and testing of BPI and fragments of the protein for human therapeutic use. Under the agreement, NYU licensed to XOMA exclusive rights to BPI and fragments thereof developed by Elsbach and Weiss. Relevant patent applications are pending in the United States and elsewhere.
 NYU Medical Center and XOMA are using their combined expertise to evaluate the potential of BPI as a new therapeutic agent for the treatment of sepsis.
 -0- 12/5/91
 /CONTACT: Larry Schlossman of NYU Medical Center, 212-263-8191, or Carol DeGuzman of XOMA, 415-644-1170/
 (XOMA) CO: XOMA Corporation; NYU Medical Center ST: California, New York IN: MTC SU:

JT -- NY044 -- 9653 12/05/91 11:54 EST
COPYRIGHT 1991 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 5, 1991

Related Articles
Genome Therapeutics Sequences Staphylococcus Epidermidis
Quorum Sciences Receives Grant to Advance Novel Approach for the Treatment and Prevention of Cystic Fibrosis.
Microcide Signs Agreement With Schering-Plough Animal Health for Research In Antibiotic Resistance.
SIGA Founding Scientist to Present at 1st International Symposium On Resistant Gram-Positive Infections.
SIGA Acquires Antibiotic Technology From University Of California.
Microbiotix and Phytobiotech Enter into Research and Screening Collaboration To Discover Novel Antibiotic Agents.
Microbiotix Achieves Milestone in Antibiotics Collaboration with Shire BioChem.
Bacterial BarCodes Appoints Chief Scientific Officer and Expands Advisory Board.
Bacterial Vaginosis; Lifestyle Tips.
Bacterial Vaginosis; Lifestyle Tips.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters