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Trudeau Institute reports new approach to treating Listeria infections
Date:10/17/2011

Saranac Lake, N.Y.Research underway at the Trudeau Institute could lead to new treatments for people sickened by Listeria and other sepsis-causing bacteria. Dr. Stephen Smiley's laboratory has published a study in the scientific journal Infection and Immunity that supports a new approach to treating these infections.

Listeria can cause serious illness, especially among the elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems. The bacteria can also cause significant complications in pregnant women, including miscarriage.

The CDC is reporting that one miscarriage and 23 deaths can be attributed to a recent outbreak of Listeria infections in the United States caused by tainted cantaloupes; 116 persons from 25 states have been infected with the outbreak-associated strains.

Ingestion of Listeria usually causes a limited gastrointestinal illness; however, the bacteria sometimes spread to other parts of the body, resulting in a deadly sepsis. Despite decades of medical research, severe infections caused by Listeria and other bacteria that cause sepsis, like MRSA, still threaten human health.

The Trudeau Institute study demonstrates that mice that have been genetically modified so they cannot produce factor XI (FXI), a specific blood-clotting factor, have an improved capacity to withstand injection with high doses of Listeria. The study also shows that normal mice treated with both an antibody targeting FXI along with antibiotics show improved survival during septic Listeria infection, as compared with mice treated with antibiotics alone.

These findings suggest FXI-targeted therapeutics may be useful for treating severe infections caused by Listeria and other sepsis-causing bacteria.

This recent work builds on a long history of Listeria research at the Trudeau Institute. In the 1960s the Institute's first director, Dr. George B. Mackaness, advanced the use of mouse models to study how cells of the immune system combat Listeri
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Contact: Kim Godreau
kgodreau@trudeauinstitute.org
518-891-3080 x561
Trudeau Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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