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Novel Therapeutic Approach Shows Promise Against Multiple Bacterial Pathogens

A team of scientists from government, academia and private industry has developed a novel treatment that protects mice from infection with the bacterium that causes tularemia, a highly infectious disease of rodents, sometimes transmitted to people, and also known as rabbit fever. In additional experiments with human immune cells, the treatment also demonstrated protection against three other types of disease-causing bacteria that, like the tularemia bacteria, occur naturally, can be highly virulent, and are considered possible agents of bioterrorism.

The experimental therapeutic works by stimulating the host immune system to destroy invading microbes. In contrast, antibiotics work by directly attacking invading bacteria, which often develop resistance to these medications. The therapeutic has the potential to enhance the action of antibiotics and provide an alternative to them.

"A therapeutic that protects against a wide array of bacterial pathogens would have enormous medical and public health implications for naturally occurring infections and potential agents of bioterrorism," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. "This creative approach is a prime example of public-private partnerships that can facilitate progress from a basic research finding to new, desperately needed novel therapeutics."
 
 

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