New strategy to fight botulinum toxin - expert available

January 06, 2021

Related to new research published in the January issue of Science Translational Medicine, Patrick McNutt, PhD, of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, was part of the research team that demonstrated a new "Trojan horse" approach that produces strong antidotal efficacy in treating lethal botulism in mice, guinea pigs and rhesus macaque monkeys.

Furthermore, in a companion article, an independent team demonstrated that a related drug has robust efficacy in mice.

"This is one of those serendipitous moments in science where two groups, working independently, demonstrate similar results for a long-standing problem," McNutt said. "We are currently modifying this drug to enhance its therapeutic properties against botulism and exploring whether the same approach can be repurposed to treat other neuronal diseases."

In 2010, Konstantin Ichtchenko (New York University School of Medicine) conceived of a novel 'trojan horse' strategy to treat botulism. This strategy is based on using a non-toxic form of BoNT to deliver therapeutic antibodies to paralyzed neurons, blocking wild-type toxin activity and accelerating recovery from paralysis. Over the past decade, Konstantin established collaborations with Patrick McNutt (Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine), Phil Band (Cytodel, Inc.) and Chuck Shoemaker (Tufts University) to develop and test this new drug in a variety of experimental models.

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are a family of bacterial poisons responsible for the clinical disease known as botulism. BoNT acts within nerve terminals to destroy proteins necessary for evoking muscle contraction, causing muscle paralysis that develops into respiratory arrest at lethal concentrations. BoNT is the most poisonous substances known, with median lethal doses that are over a million-fold lower than cyanide.

Because of its extraordinary potency and long duration of action, the toxin is considered a Tier 1 agent by the CDC, which is reserved for the most dangerous public threats. These same properties render BoNT a highly effective cosmetic and therapeutic drug (e.g., BOTOX) with diverse clinical indications. Despite decades of effort, there are no antidotes for the life-threatening consequences of botulism. This failure is primarily because the toxin hides within the nerve terminal, where it poses a challenging target for delivery of therapeutic molecules.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Related Regenerative Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

Stem cells: new insights for future regenerative medicine approaches
The study published in Open Biology unravels important data for a better understanding of the process of division in stem cells and for the development of safer ways to use them in medicine.

Engineered developmental signals could illuminate regenerative medicine
For a tiny embryo to develop into an adult organism, its cells must develop in precise patterns and interact with their neighbors in carefully orchestrated ways.

A new discovery in regenerative medicine
An international collaboration involving Monash University and Duke-NUS researchers have made an unexpected world-first stem cell discovery that may lead to new treatments for placenta complications during pregnancy.

New research into stem cell mutations could improve regenerative medicine
Research from the University of Sheffield has given new insight into the cause of mutations in pluripotent stem cells and potential ways of stopping these mutations from occurring.

Keratin scaffolds could advance regenerative medicine and tissue engineering for humans
Researchers at Mossakowski Medical Research Center of the Polish Academy of Science have developed a simple method for preparing 3D keratin scaffold models which can be used to study the regeneration of tissue.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

A new material for regenerative medicine capable to control cell immune response
Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with the University of Montana (USA) proposed a new promising material for regenerative medicine for recovery of damaged tissues and blood vessels.

Optoceutics: A new technique using light for regenerative medicine
Researchers in Italy at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia used visible light together with photo-sensitive and biocompatible materials to facilitate the formation of new blood vessels in vitro.

Major stem cell discovery to boost research into development and regenerative medicine
A new approach has enabled researchers to create Expanded Potential Stem Cells (EPSCs) of both pig and human cells.

Spinning-prism microscope helps gather stem cells for regenerative medicine
Pluripotent stem cells are crucial to regenerative medicine, but better screening methods are needed to isolate safe and effective cells for medical use.

Read More: Regenerative Medicine News and Regenerative Medicine Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to