WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- GeneThera, Inc. (Pink Sheets: GTHR), announced today that it has signed an agreement with STC.UNM (STC), the technology-transfer arm of the University of New Mexico (UNM), giving GeneThera an option to a license to worldwide development and distribution rights to a vaccine developed at UNM's Health Sciences Center that is designed to significantly inhibit the carriage and shedding of the E. coli bacteria in cattle.
The technology consists of a vaccine that when given to cattle reduces and inhibits the carriage and shedding of enterohemorrhagic E. coli (such as serotype O157:H7). This vaccine consists of live attenuated bacteria that were created for this purpose by Dr. Edgar Boedeker, a Professor in the Internal Medicine Department at UNM's Health Sciences Center, and Dr. Chengru Zhu, formerly of UNM but now Chief of Environmental Microbiology in the Maryland Department of Health. These bacteria are harmless to humans and animals because the key virulence genes of the bugs are mutated by molecular approaches.
According to the CDC, " ... there may be about 70,000 infections with E. coli O157 each year in the United States. We can only estimate because we know that many infected people do not seek medical care, many do not submit a stool specimen for testing, and many labs do not test for STEC. The bacteria that make these toxins are called 'Shiga toxin producing' E. coli, or STEC for short."
Shiga toxin is one of the most potent toxins known to man, so much so that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists it as a potential bioterrorist agent (CDC, n.d.).
This vaccine, when used in cattle, inhibits the carrying and shedding of bacteria that are known to induce food borne illness such as E. coli O157:H7. Vaccinated cattle will have a greatly diminished ability to carry and shed these pathogenic bacteria. The result will be the reduced contamination of meat and water sources with these potentially deadly microbes. The overall result is safer foods, reduced mortality and illness of consumers and savings from costly meat recalls. The bacteria used to create the vaccine are easily cultured and harmless.
Commenting on the news, GeneThera Chairman Dr. Tony Milici, M.D., Ph.D., stated, "We are very excited about the signing of this agreement with STC.UNM. It is our intention to initiate clinical trials for the E. coli vaccine in the near future. Our goal is to take the vaccine to market as soon as possible. E. coli infection represents a great threat for the food industry and it is no longer limited to beef as recent episodes have shown. Every year more than 70 people die from E. coli infection. Children in particular are more vulnerable to this infection. A recent study estimated the annual cost of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to be $405 million (in 2003 dollars), which included $370 million for premature deaths, $30 million for medical care, and $5 million for lost productivity."
Dr. Milici went on to say that "the CDC has estimated that 85% of E. coli O157:H7 infections are food borne in origin. In fact, consumption of any food or beverage that becomes contaminated by animal (especially cattle) manure can result in contracting the disease."
The vaccine has already passed the initial animal trials, and is on the fast track for phase 2 clinical trials according to Dr. Milici.
STC.UNM President & CEO, Lisa Kuuttila, stated that "STC looks forward to the next stage of development enabled by this agreement. GeneThera will be conducting an important trial of the vaccine."
GeneThera hopes to complete clinical trials within the next 9-12 months. That could mean a viable vaccine to help prevent E. coli infections could be available for worldwide distribution to all commercial cattle producers in the very near future.
ABOUT GENETHERA, INC.
GeneThera, Inc., is a molecular biotechnology company located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. The Company provides genetic diagnostic solutions for the veterinary and agricultural industries with future plans to include the healthcare industry. The Company's proprietary diagnostic solution is based on a genetic expression assay, GES(TM), a protocol designed to function on a highly automated Fluorogenic PCR platform. This platform enables GeneThera to offer tests that are presently not available from other technologies. The GES is designed for a host of individual diseases, the current priorities being Mad Cow disease, Chronic Wasting Disease, E. coli 0157:H7 and Johne's disease, all diseases affecting cattle worldwide. For more information, contact Dr. Tony Milici at 303-463-6371 or visit GeneThera's website at http://www.genethera.net.
STC.UNM (STC) is a nonprofit corporation formed and owned entirely by the University of New Mexico Regents (UNM). The mission of STC is to support UNM and its partners as the source of innovation management and commercial development. STC does this by connecting the business community to UNM; protecting and transferring intellectual property and faculty inventions to the commercial marketplace; and by assisting companies and organizations that wish to access facilities, expertise, and research conducted at UNM. As STC has evolved, the corporation has come to assist not only UNM faculty, but students, outside inventors, and entrepreneurs as well. Visit our website at http://www.stc.unm.edu.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the Safe-Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "intends," "believes," and similar expressions reflecting something other than historical fact are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including the timely development and market acceptance of products and technologies, the ability to secure additional sources of finance, the ability to reduce operating expenses, and other factors described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The actual results that the Company achieves may differ materially from any forward-looking statement due to such risks and uncertainties. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release.
|SOURCE GeneThera, Inc.|
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