Novel approaches to anti-infective therapy

Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia is pioneering a new concept in antibacterial therapy, using oligonucleotide SnareTM technology. SnareTM anti-bacterials consist of an oligonucleotide therapeutic (a Transcription Factor Decoy, TFD) that inhibits the expression of essential bacterial genes. They are delivered by encapsulating the TFD in a nanoparticle which carries it across the bacterial cell envelope. Depending on which transcription factor is targeted by the TFD, the SnareTM can have either narrow- or broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. TFDs function against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens and, in principle should prove highly effective against MDR pathogens. A John Innes Centre spin-out company, Procarta Biosystems, was established in 2008 for the commercial development of this technology, and works closely with scientists in Norwich Medical School.

In a second novel approach, Norwich Research Park scientists are investigating the potential of phage therapy as an alternative to conventional antibiotics to target gut pathogens such as Clostridium difficile and Clostridium perfringens. Bacteriophages are viruses that kill specific bacteria. Their narrow spectrum of activity can be exploited to kill pathogens without damaging beneficial bacteria in the body.

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Bacteriophage as novel therapy for Clostridium difficile infections, Kathryn Cross (Institute of Food Research)


Earlham institute
Quadram Institute Bioscience
John Innes Centre
The Sainsbury Laboratory
NHS NNUH
University of East Anglia

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