11-May-2011

Researchers win Ä5m for study to reduce antibiotics use

Swedish researchers have been granted more than Ä5m by the European Commission to conduct a clinical phase III study on patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) using antibodies from henís eggs.

Most patients with CF are affected by severe and ultimately chronic infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. To date, the only treatment has been repeated courses of antibiotics, with a high risk of side effects and bacterial resistance. The IgY-method, using antibodies from henís eggs, prevents infections and could also be used as an alternative treatment to antibiotics.

Per-Erik Wejaker with one of the hens producing Anti-pseudomonas IgY

Following a multi-year Swedish clinical trial with good results at multiple centres including the CF centre at Uppsala University Hospital, Immunsystem, with partners, has received the EC grant to conduct the trial. This is the last major step before a drug candidate can be filed for approval by the regulatory authorities.

The drug candidate, Anti-Pseudomonas IgY, is a solution with antibodies specifically targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The hen is vaccinated with the bacteria and will thereby start producing antibodies that are transferred to the egg in a high concentration. When the patient gargles with the solution, the antibodies will attack the flagella of the bacteria preventing them from attaching to the cell walls in the patientís mouth and throat. This in turn prevents the bacteria from further infecting the lungs.

Anti-Pseudomonas IgY is a water-based solution, free from any other additives. As a natural and safe solution it is especially suited for long-term, prophylactic treatment and can be given daily without any side effects since eggs have been a part of our natural diet since the beginning of time. A group of patients in Sweden has been given the treatment for approximately 15 years, and a clear delay in the recurrence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections has been observed. This treatment has also indicated a diminished use of antibiotics, a decrease in days in hospital, and a fall in required healthcare.

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