A weak immune system can lead to a host of problems and diseases if you’re not careful. Perhaps that’s why blog articles promoting ways to “boost your immune system” are so popular, especially during the winter months. Interestingly, researchers in analytical labs working as part of a Texas Medical Center study have found an innovative solution to stimulating the body’s immune system and thus protecting people against a wide variety of life-threatening diseases.
A new drug, PUL-042, recently entered human clinical trials through a company called Pulmotect, Inc. Pulmotect was co-founded by Texas A&M University researcher Dr. Magnus Höök. His innovative solution to boosting the immune system involves inhaling a substance that offers intense, short-term protection against bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens. Originally meant as a way to prevent respiratory infections, the substance protects the lungs against infectious diseases. The researchers focused their study on pneumonia and cancer patients to begin with.
“Patients receiving chemotherapy are highly susceptible to life threatening respiratory infections, including pneumonia, while in their immune-compromised state,” said Dr. Höök, Ph.D., and professor at the TAMHSC Institute for Biosciences and Technology. “PUL-042 holds promise to protect these patients from deadly infection during their most vulnerable period, allowing for significantly higher treatment success.”
Image courtesy of Texas A&M University
Dr. Höök conducts life science research in the biochemistry and biophysics fields at Texas A&M University. His analytical lab work focuses on the structural function of the extracellular matrix, especially the molecular mechanisms of microbial adhesion to host tissue. Dr. Höök has published three studies in 2014 alone. His research goals are to use the information he gathers in his studies to develop new treatments for preventing and treating infections.
“A development seven years in the making, we are delighted to see the technology advancing into clinical trials, moving us one step closer toward our end goal: bringing this protective therapy to the market to save lives and address a critical unmet need worldwide,” Höök remarked. “Ultimately, this drug has the potential to alter our vulnerability to deadly epidemics and bioterror threats.”
This new technology is licensed by Texas A&M University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2012, Pulmotect, Inc. received a $7 million grant for this life science research from the Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas along with a number of grants from the National Institute of Heallth and an investment award from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in 2009.
Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are united under the umbrella of the Texas Medical Center. Texas Medical Center is the largest medical complex in the world, comprising of 21 hospitals; 13 support organizations; three medical schools; eight academic and research institutions; two universities; two pharmacy schools; three public health organizations and a dental school.
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