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Scientists develop a way to make the deadliest toxin known even more toxic

BoNT is also of substantial global concern as a potential bioterrorist weapon.

One of the main drawbacks associated with BoNT as a therapeutic is that repeated use can lead to the development of a significant immune response. Tolerance to it develops most rapidly when patients receive frequent high doses of the toxin.

"We hypothesized that the use of BoNT in combination with a small molecule that could superactivate the action of the toxin would allow for lower doses," Janda said, "and reduce the patient's immune response. As the importance of BoNT in medicine continues to expand, we need to find some way to counter these unintended immune responses. Compounds like the ones we discovered, which produced the greatest protease activation ever recorded, may point the way to a potential solution."

Other authors of the study include Laura A. McAllister, Mark S. Hixon, Jack P. Kennedy, and Tobin J. Dickerson, all of the Scripps Research Departments of Chemistry and Immunology, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and Worm Institute for Research and Medicine (WIRM).


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Source:Scripps Research Institute


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