Immunotherapy-Mediated Interference of Bacterial Quorum Sensing

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: February 2014
Award End Date: January 2016
Amount Awarded: $ 200,000.00
PI(s): Michael J. Federle, PhD, UIC; Matthew Tirrell, PhD, UChicago;

Abstract: Our society faces a significant moment in modern health care where many antibiotics have lost their effectiveness in treating life-threatening and debilitating diseases due to the emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria. New antibiotics are desperately needed; yet because antibiotics inhibit growth or kill bacteria, they drive the evolution of bacteria to become drug-resistant and make antimicrobial drugs a non-ideal long-term strategy to treat infectious diseases. An alternative approach is to use anti-virulence strategies that target the underlying causes of disease without inhibiting bacterial growth, limiting the capacity for bacteria to develop treatment resistance. The Federle lab has discovered several new signaling pathways that are responsible for microbial cell-to-cell communication and play a prominent role in their ability to cause disease. Our approach utilizes the Tirrell Lab's ability to synthesize immunostimulatory biomaterials in order to generate antibodies specifically aimed at bacterial communication pathways. The Federle lab will utilize methodologies developed in the group to assess activity and function of the antibodies. Together, we will test the hypothesis that antibodies generated to disrupt bacterial communication hold the potential to inhibit pathogenesis.