Breakthrough ICU Infection Prevention Treatment by HUB and IDIBELL Researchers Enters Clinical Phase

- Research
The new drug that eliminates antibodies that bind to gram-negative bacteria, making the latter resistant to the natural immune system

RemAb Therapeutics, a spin-off of IDIBELL, has received authorization from the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) to initiate clinical trials with a new generation of drugs. These drugs represent a significant advancement as they have the unique ability to suppress specific antibodies within the human body for the first time.

In the battle against infectious agents, our immune system generates "specific" antibodies that target the antigens expressed by these pathogens. These "specific" antibodies are typically present only in individuals who have received previous vaccinations against the infectious agents.

Before "specific" antibodies are produced, other antibodies that are naturally present in the individual (e.g. blood group antibodies) or that have previously been produced against other infectious agents, can attach to pathogens.

The problem lies in the fact that most of these "non-specific" antibodies lack the ability to neutralise the new pathogen. In fact, in many cases, these "non-specific" antibodies can create a shield that hinders the immune system's response, allowing infectious agents to survive, even when "specific" antibodies against them are being produced."

Researchers at Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have made a significant discovery: eliminating "non-specific" antibodies binding to gram-negative bacteria thanks to a new drug allows the immune system to respond against these bacteria, thereby preventing them from causing disease. The findings have been published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Gram-negative bacteria, particularly prevalent in the ICU, are the primary culprits behind hospital-acquired infections. They are highly resistant to antibiotics, and no vaccines currently exist to prevent their infections.

The development of new treatments against these bacteria is a top priority for public health, as highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Commission. Dr Rafael Mañez, head of the Service of Intensive Care Medicine at HUB and the IDIBELL research group, points out, 'It is the first time it has been proved that immunity against infections can be generated by eliminating existing antibodies, without the need to produce new ones as vaccines typically do. This breakthrough can be of significant assistance in preventing infections for which vaccines do not yet exist, particularly those acquired in hospital settings.'

RemAb Therapeutics has developed a polymeric conjugate platform utilizing the Hartful Antibody Removal Technology (HART), which has led to the creation of drugs that can, for the first time, remove specific antibodies within the human body.

The inaugural drug from RemAb Therapeutics, known as RA0127, targets the removal of "non-specific" antibodies that contribute to infections caused by gram-negative bacteria. Following successful confirmation of the drug's effectiveness and safety in numerous preclinical investigations, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) has granted authorization to initiate clinical trials with this groundbreaking drug.

This drug represents a first-in-class treatment, employing a novel and unique mechanism of action to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

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