This breakthrough technology holds the promise of overcoming the fight against antibiotic-resistant Superbugs.
The lab of Lisa Cavacini, PhD, is one of only a handful in the world that specialize in making human monoclonal antibodies. This highly specialized therapy can substitute for the body’s naturally occurring antibodies to destroy targeted antigens, such as cancer cells or other invaders. By harnessing a patient’s own immune system to do battle with dangerous infections, human monoclonal antibodies promise to be a highly valuable alternative when so-called Superbugs render antibiotics ineffective. For nearly two decades, beginning in the mid-1990s, Cavacini, together with Marshall Posner, MD, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital collaborator Gerald Pier, PhD, pursued the creation of a monoclonal antibody against Staphylococcal Poly-N-Acetyl Glucosamine (Clone F598). Their creation forms the basis of a promising new therapeutic for just such life-threatening circumstances – the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the Superbug known as MRSA. MRSA’s notorious ability to resist traditional antibiotics has made it a growing threat throughout the world, particularly in hospital and nursing-home settings. In 2007, BIDMC’s TVO licensed F598 to biotechnology company Alopexx, which subsequently partnered with pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis to bring this experimental therapy into Phase 1 clinical trials. In 2010, Sanofi acquired exclusive rights to develop a therapeutic based on F598. Today, the agent is poised to enter Phase 3 trials, a highly promising development even as the incidence of MRSA grows, now estimated to affect more than 2.5 million individuals each year."