Bacteriophage-based probiotic preparation for managing Shigella infections

Award Information
Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Intralytix, Inc.
The Columbus Center, 701 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD, 21202
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Alexander Sulakvelidze
Chief Scientist
(410) 625-2533
Business Contact:
John Vazzana
President and CEO
(410) 625-3813
Research Institution:
University of Florida
Thomas Walsh
Research and Graduate Programs
219 Grinter Hall
Gainesville, FL, 32611 5500
(352) 392-1582
Nonprofit college or university
Diarrhea remains a major public health challenge worldwide, and it also may significantly hamper US troop operations during combat and peacekeeping missions overseas. Antibiotics can be used to treat diarrheal diseases; however, some foodborne and waterborne bacterial pathogens are developing resistance against antibiotics, which limits their effectiveness. Also, antibiotics - because of their broad spectrum activity - may disturb/alter the GI tract's normal and beneficial microflora, which may create additional health problems. Therefore, novel approaches are needed to help prevent and treat bacterial-elicited diarrhea among US troops, thereby improving their combat readiness and performance. Synbiotics (combinations of probiotics and prebiotics) may provide one such approach. However, one potentially useful probiotic intervention that has not received much attention in the past is to use bacteriophages to target "problem" bacterial species in the human GI tract. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, are highly specific, and lyse their targeted bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains. Thus, synbiotic preparations containing (i) bacteriophages targeting specific diarrhea-causing bacteria, (ii) previously described, bacteria-based probiotics, and (iii) prebiotics may provide excellent protection against diarrheal illnesses among US troops and civilian populations. In this application, we propose to begin developing and testing a synbiotic preparation whose phage component is specifically active against Shigella spp., which are significant diarrhea-causing pathogens.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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