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Eliminating Acne Through Photo-Inactivation Catalase

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41AR079349-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41AR079349
Amount: $250,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAMS
Solicitation Number: PA20-265
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-09-24
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-08-31
Small Business Information
48 CHESTNUT HILL AVE.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-1343
United States
DUNS: 123578100
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 STEVEN QIAN
 (508) 638-8199
 stevenqian@pulsethera.com
Business Contact
 STEVEN QIAN
Phone: (508) 638-8199
Email: stevenqian@pulsethera.com
Research Institution
 PULSETHERA CORPORATION
 
48 CHESTNUT HILL AVE.
CHESTNUT HILL, MA 02467-1350
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization
Abstract

PROJECT SUMMARYAcne vulgaris is a skin inflammatory condition affecting 80% of young adults and can frequently induce
permanent disfigurement even with appropriate treatment. Acne is caused by C. acnes in the setting of hormonal
changes and sebum induction that accompany adolescence. The mainstay of therapeutics consist of eradicating
C. acnes and reducing inflammation. However, treatment is prolonged (usually 4-8 weeks in duration) and has
been associated in recent years with the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Resistance to two first line antibiotics
clindamycin and erythromycin currently stands at 30-50%. This severe situation highlights an unmet need for
novel and more effective treatment options. This phase I STTR proposal, through a partnership between the
George Liu lab and Pulsethera Inc, aims to amplify these initial findings and to design a prototype for treatment
of multi-drug resistant acne infections. The PI Ji-Xin Cheng (PhD) is an expert of Biophotonics. The co-PI George
Liu (MD PhD) is a pioneer in the study of chromophores including catalase in bacteria and was the first to uncover
staphyloxanthin’s anti-oxidant property in S. aureus. Liu and Cheng have an ongoing collaboration in developing
novel antimicrobial phototherapies (Science Advances, 2020, 7:1903117). A recent collaboration between
George Liu lab at UCSD and Ji-Xin Cheng lab at Boston University found that catalase, naturally expressed in a
broad spectrum of bacterial (both gram-negative and gram-positive) and fungal species, can be inactivated by a
blue light LED and more effectively by pulsed blue light (manuscript in prep). Consequently, we have observed
that photo-inactivation of catalase effectively sensitizes pathogens including C. acne to very low concentration
of hydrogen peroxide. The team’s central hypothesis is that photo-inactivation of catalase is able to sensitize C.
acne pathogens to ROS-producing immune cells and antimicrobial agents. To test this hypothesis, we will first
develop a catalase photo-inactivation prototype and validate its efficiency in killing C. acne in synergy with
hydrogen peroxide (aim 1). We will then determine the efficacy of catalase photo-inactivation coupled with
peroxide in the treatment of acne in vivo in an animal model (aim 2). By accomplishing the proposed studies, it
is our expectation that accelerated elimination of the pro-inflammatory C. acnes will lead to improved outcome
and obviate the need for long courses of antibiotics that are the cause of antibiotic resistance.PROJECT NARRATIVEAcne vulgaris is a skin inflammatory condition affecting 80% of young adults and can frequently induce
permanent disfigurement even with appropriate treatment. This phase I STTR proposal aims to design a
prototype for treatment of multi-drug resistant acne infections.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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