Montana State University

MSU scientists develop potential new treatment for autoimmune diseases

May 13, 2013 -- MSU News Service

Subscribe to MSU Newsletters


Bobcat Bulletin is a weekly e-newsletter designed to bring the most recent and relevant news about Montana State University directly to friends and neighbors via email. Visit Bobcat Bulletin.

MSU Today e-mail brings you news and events on campus thrice weekly during the academic year. Visit the MSU Today calendar.

MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu

BOZEMAN – Scientists at Montana State University have developed a therapeutic that has potential as a biological drug or probiotic food product to combat many of the more than 80 autoimmune disorders that affect some 23.5 million people in the United States.

A patent application is pending and the technology is available for licensing.

The bacterium used by MSU researchers to develop the new therapeutic is a common organism found in the human gut and could be administered as a probiotic food such as yogurt, as well as in a pill or nasal mist.

Because the therapeutic is engineered into a bacterium that qualifies under ­­­the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Generally Regarded As Safe designation, it has the potential for low manufacturing costs.

The technology offers potential as a treatment for a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including common and potentially debilitating ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type-1 diabetes, colitis and multiple sclerosis. It could also enhance existing autoimmune treatments.

While the bacterium acts to suppress a broad range of autoimmune responses, it does so without the need for a specific disease antigen to be engineered into compound so that a single therapeutic drug or probiotic could be developed to address multiple autoimmune diseases. Immune response to the therapeutic is low such that it can be administered repeatedly without the body reacting negatively to it.

Currently, MSU has 213 licenses from technologies developed by faculty and researchers. Of those, 85 licenses are with Montana companies.

Contact: Nick Zelver, associate director, MSU Office of Technology Transfer, (406) 994-7706 or nzelver@montana.edu.