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Anti-Inflammatory Drug May Prevent Deadly Infection

Anti-Inflammatory Drug May Prevent Deadly Infection

January 8, 2015

Medical Research, Press Releases

Beer-Sheva, Israel, January 6, 2015 – BGU researchers have discovered that alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) could prevent deadly infections in immune system-compromised patients.

Their study, reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases by Dr. Eli C. Lewis and his team of BGU researchers, examined the effectiveness of AAT treatment in halting bacterial colonization and spread. Bacterial infections can rapidly become severe and cause sepsis, multiple organ dysfunction and death, even with available antibiotics.

In the study, mice were directly infected with highly lethal live bacteria, sepsis and peritonitis. The initial aim was to exclude the possibility that AAT, an anti-inflammatory agent, might worsen infections in patients who are being treated with the drug. AAT is currently being used to treat new clinical indications like type 1 diabetes, emphysema and graft versus host disease (a condition that occurs with transplant rejection).

Instead, the BGU research group unexpectedly discovered that the treated mice combatted these lethal infections better than the untreated mice. The bacteria directly introduced were practically eradicated by AAT therapy within 24 hours. According to the researchers, “There were barely enough bacteria left to grow colonies on a plate.”

“Imagine if weak patients receive AAT prior to prolonged hospitalization in bacteria-rich hospital facilities,” says Dr. Lewis, head of the clinical islet laboratory at BGU. “Considering the current frustration with antibiotic development rate compared to bacterial resistance rates, the clinical implications are immense. There is significant demand for the availability of a safe, preemptive, readily accessible approach.”

The molecule AAT is naturally produced in the human liver, particularly during inflammatory bouts. It has been known to reduce excessive inflammation and preserve injured tissues.

The BGU team is now working on deciphering the mechanisms behind these favorable outcomes, which will be published in future studies.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.

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