Pathogenic bacteria Streptococcus agalactiae group B (GBS) cause severe diseases in humans and are primarily known to cause infections in pregnant women and children. According to the WHO, 15 - 45% of pregnant women suffer from Streptococcus agalactiae GBS colonization, while many of them are asymptomatic. GBS is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. In children, the infection caused by GBS can lead to blood poisoning (septicemia), inflammation or damage to the lungs, as well as to neonatal meningitis and brain damage. In adults, especially in those with a weakened immune system often due to other diseases, the infection caused by GBS can lead to other types of severe diseases, such as streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, septicemia, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, meningitis and endocarditis, and also necrotizing fascitis.
The conventional treatment of infections caused by Streptococcus agalactiae comprises administration of antibiotics and the treatment of infections in pregnant women is based on antibiotic prophylaxis. Complication of the conventional treatment is an increased resistance of these pathogens against the administered antibiotics, as well as a possible allergic reaction of the mother and her fetus to the administered drug. In addition, administration of antibiotics to pregnant women can be associated with negative effects on the newborn. Due to the disadvantages of treating GBS infections with antibiotics and the occurrence of recurrent infections, new treatment options are currently being sought.
A suitable alternative appears to be the phage therapy, which uses bacteriophages and their products in the treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacteria. So far, only tempered bacteriophages have been identified. However, these are not suitable for use in phage therapy. One of the treatment options of infections caused by Streptococcus agalactiae is the use and application of phage endolysins. Endolysins are enzymes of bacteriophages that serve for degradation of the peptidoglycan of host cells at the end of the lytic cycle of bacteriophages, and subsequently lysis of bacterial cells and release of phage virions into the environment occur.
A team of inventors from an established Slovak scientific and research institute and an established Slovak university has developed an innovative antimicrobial recombinant protein EN534-C with lytic properties against pathogenic strains of Streptococcus agalactiae.
EN534-C specifically binds to the substrate ligand of the bacteria peptidoglycan via the binding domain, and subsequently, by the enzymatic activity of the lytic domains, the chemical bond in the peptidoglycan of the bacterial cell wall is cleaved.EN534-C is characterized by lytic activity against a wider spectrum of Gram-positive bacteria: Streptococcus agalactiae GBS, Paenibacillus larvae, Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, and Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli, while at the same time it does not act lytically against Lactobacillus jensenii.
The protein EN534-C can be used mainly for the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria Streptococcus agalactiae.
The institute is looking for a partner for licensing in this and related fields. More details in the Partner Sought.