Innovation Spotlight: New Compound Activates Broad Spectrum Lung Immunity

October 28, 2012 07:20 PM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

TechConnect Innovation Tracking: Montana State University, a TechConnect Accelerator participant-Santa Clara, CA, June 18-21, 2012

Montana State University (MSU) researchers have developed a compound that accelerates the onset of effective primary antibody responses, clearing a rapidly proliferating infectious agent before it causes disease.  The compound rapidly initiates a key natural defense system of the lung known as inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (iBALT).

Currently in the prototype stage, the new compound triggers rapid production of lymphoid tissue in the lung to prevent or treat a range of pulmonary diseases including influenza. IBALT is known to provide broad spectrum immunity sites within the lung.  The MSU compound is biologically derived and can be easily produced by fermentation.  The compound alone triggers iBALT formation but also can be used to augment vaccines or therapies or as an adjuvant.

To date, MSU researchers have shown significant protection against influenza in mouse lung that previously was administered the new compound.  “We did initiate some work on the ferret influenza model, but additional support is required to complete the ferret model testing,” notes Dr. Allen Harmsen, MSU lead researcher for the innovation.

Since the technology was presented at TechConnect World 2012, Dr. Harmsen tells TechConnect News “The focus of the experiments now is to make mutants of these PLPs that will be better absorbed orally, get to the lungs and have the same effects as being installed into the lung.  We are working on means of optimizing the formulation to work via the oral route (e.g., aerosol).”

The technology has received funding from the NIH and through the DOD BioDefense program.

One of the benefits of attending TechConnect World for Montana State University was that “It was a terrific forum for interacting with industry and academic leaders.  I appreciated the presentations made by the corporate partners.  The event provided a unique interface where you could see how leading corporations were seeking cutting edge technologies.” 

To learn more about the MSU innovation, contact Nick Zelver, Associate Director Montana State University Technology Transfer, 406-994-7706, or nzelver (at) montana (dot) edu.


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