Biological treatment of bacterial keratitis

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41EY024475-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R41EY024475
Amount: $224,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N
Solicitation Number: PA14-072
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-03-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-02-28
Small Business Information
5201 WHITCOMB DR, Madison, WI, 53711-2638
DUNS: 962619586
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (608) 662-9000
Business Contact
Phone: (608) 216-5372
Research Institution
 , ,
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Staphylococcus is the most common cause of infections worldwide The pathogen persists asymptomatically on human skin from which it may spread to ocular tissues and cause corneal infection When this happens corneal bacterial keratitis can occur and if not treated effectively it may lead to blindness Multi Drug Resistant MDR variants of S aureus Sa are increasingly prevalent and are of major clinical concern as the arsenal of effective antibiotics available for treatment is becoming depleted The problem of antibiotic resistance is compounded by the ability of Sa to grow not only in its familiar planktonc form but also in the form of compact biofilms against which current antibiotics have limited effect This creates a need to discover new and effective modalities against MDR pathogens But it also creates a commercial opportunity particularly if it is possible to reduce the likelihod that MDR pathogens will become resistant to these modalities In this phase I STTR proposal AmebaGone LLC in collaboration with the academic partner at the School of Medicine and Public Health of University of Wisconsin Madison will carry out proof of principle experiments to test whether treating bacterial keratitis with Dictyostelid Cells DC can mitigate ocular Sa infections DC are microscopic unicellular professional phagocytes of group Conosa that devour bacteria as their normal food source DC can engulf and digest bacteria at a prodigious rate and they exponentially multiply until the bacterial prey is gone Only when the supply of the surface exposed bacteria is large and the oxygen is abundant they become multi cellular and differentiate into dormant spores Genomic analyses of these organisms suggest that DC were among the earliest multi cellular organisms to arrive on dry land Because the sporulation cannot occur when DC feed on submerged bacteria their evolutionary split from the aquatic amoebic cells group Lobosa some of which are pathogenic had occurred over billion years ago Humans and animals encounter DC in soil worldwide with no adverse consequences It is highly significant to this project that AmebaGone LLC has already acquired several Dictyostelid strains and has shown that these organisms can kill planktonic and biofilm encased S aureus MRSA USA These strains are samplings from a large archive of over natural isolates of DC from diverse locations Our aims are Screen a preselected group of DC for their ability to feed on planktonic and biofilm encased cells of S aureus a common pathogen of ocular tissues Determine the toxicity of DC when applied topically to the mouse cornea and determine the residence time of DC on the cornea following a single application and Test the efficacy of DC in treating murine corneal infections with the strain of S aureus If DC have no adverse effects and are efficacious against S aureus in the ocular tissues of the mouse the treatment will be tested in Phase II in a rabbit model of keratitis The issued patents the company owns are to protect commercialization of DC as therapeutics in medicine and agriculture PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Staphylococcus aureus Sa persists harmlessly on human skin from which it may spread to the eye and cause an infection that may lead to blindness if not treated effectively The pathogen is evolving resistance to almost all available antibiotics tht have been used for infection treatment The research project we propose will test whether treating infected eyes with microscopic organisms that devour bacteria as their food source is a safe treatment for ocular Sa infections

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

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