Mammalian Sterol Synthesis as a Target for Chemotherapy Against Bacteria (21061)

Recent discoveries at Northwestern University offer the opportunity to use well characterized drugs, known as statins, for a new much needed use, as antibacterial/antibiotic compounds. Thus, the present invention focuses on the use of statins as anti-bacterial drugs. Shown below is a graph demonstrating the ability of lovastatin to inhibit Salmonella infection of macrophages.

BACKGROUD and SIGNIFICANCE: Bacterial infections are among the most common and deadly causes of human disease. About 70 percent of bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat infections. The Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, has estimated that the annual cost of treating antibiotic resistant infections in the United States may be as high as $30 billion.

Statins act by inhibiting HMG CoA reductase, a rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis. Inhibition of this enzyme causes an increase in the uptake of low density lipoproteins (LDL) and a decrease in blood cholesterol levels. Investigators at Northwestern University hypothesized that pathogens that rely on the host cell sterol biosynthesis pathway for survival may be sensitive to statin treatment based on the effect of statins on Salmonella enterica infected macrophages. Their results indicate that treatment with statins decreased Salmonella’s intracellular survival by a factor of ten without affecting host cell viability. These results indicate that statins may have a new use as antibiotic/antibacterial compounds.

ADVANTAGES: While many drugs are available to treat bacterial infections, many of these drugs exhibit decreased usefulness as antibiotics, due to the development of bacterial resistance. Research and development efforts from various major pharmaceutical companies have yielded a variety of statin compounds, clinical trial data, and extensive data on pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties of statins.

A patent application has been filed, and Northwestern University is interested in licensing this technology.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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