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29 August 2006

Potent anthrax inhibitor found

A new anthrax toxin inhibitor designed to fight antibiotic-resistant strains performed successfully in laboratory and animal tests, a new study says.

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A new anthrax toxin inhibitor designed to fight antibiotic-resistant strains performed successfully in laboratory and animal tests, a new study says.

This new inhibitor was developed by scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and at the University of Toronto, and reported on in the August 28 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Anthrax bacteria secrete a toxin that harms a host organism. Most anthrax therapies target the anthrax bacteria or the toxin.

50 000-fold increase
This new inhibitor blocks the receptors where anthrax toxin attaches in the body. The inhibitor is able to bind to multiple sites on the host receptor, which makes it much more potent than an inhibitor that binds to a single site, the researchers said.

They found that the new approach led to a 50 000-fold increase in potency in cell culture studies and the inhibitor protected six rats injected with anthrax toxin.

Once it's fully developed, the new inhibitor could help reduce the number of deaths caused by the inhalation of anthrax, which has a death rate of 75% even after patients are given antibiotics.

The scientists also said the general concept of this research could also be applied to designing inhibitors to protect against other diseases, including influenza, HIV/Aids and Sars.

Read more:
anthrax through the ages
Protein blows up anthrax

 
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