Gaseous Intoxication by Bacterial Infection

Developing new non-antibiotic treatments that limit damage and accelerate recovery from deep tissue infections

Full Project Name:Gaseous Intoxication by Bacterial Infection: A mechanism for abscess formationPrinciple Investigator:Rodney E. Willoughby, MD, PediatricsCo-Investigator:Brian C. Smith, PhD, Biochemistry; Christopher J. Kristich, PhD, Microbiology and ImmunologyAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
January2016
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


The outcome of bacterial infections has not changed for decades, despite regular increases in potency and spectrum of antimicrobials and major advances in critical care. By treating these infections as environmental toxins, researchers aim to develop new non-antibiotic treatments that limit damage and accelerate recovery from deep tissue infections, and to translate research into applications in inflammation and immunology, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and cardiovascular medicine.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Enabled research team to capitalize on unique detection method for hydrogen sulfide to develop non-antibiotic treatments that effectively limit damage and speed recovery from infections resulting from contact with the gas

• Documented progress in cloning and expressing the bacteria and human versions of enzymes that produce hydrogen sulfide gas

• Effectively excluded current known inhibitors of hydrogen sulfide production as therapeutic agents - they are far more toxic to humans than to bacteria. The team identified vitamin B12 as a novel binder of hydrogen sulfide, a safe inhibitor in humans yet to be tested in bacteria

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