UC researcher granted patent for potential pulmonary infection treatment

A researcher in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine has been granted a U.S. patent for a potential treatment for a pulmonary infection in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The treatment, known as AB569, was developed in the lab of Daniel Hassett, PhD, a professor in the UC Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. AB569 is a potential treatment for many antibiotic-resistant organisms including, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), which causes pulmonary infections in patients with CF and COPD. The drug has been licensed by the university exclusively to Arch Biopartners, a Toronto-based publicly traded biotechnology company. Hassett is a stockholder and principal scientist at Arch.

“This is some extremely positive and very timely news,” says Hassett. “AB569 can be a global game changer and has the potential to positively impact lives around the world.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patent #9,925,206 to the University of Cincinnati on March 27, 2018, on which Hassett is the inventor.

CF is a genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe. In people with CF, a defective gene causes a buildup of thick, dehydrated mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. There are about 40,000 cystic fibrosis patients in the U.S. and more than 70,000 worldwide.

COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard for individuals to breathe. The condition worsens over time and its symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing up large amounts of mucus. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, but it can also affect individuals exposed to other lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes or dusts. An estimated 251 million people worldwide have COPD, according to the World Health Organization.

Hassett’s earlier work on CF found that P. aeruginosa was susceptible to destruction by slightly acidified sodium nitrite. In his continued effort to combat CF and COPD, he discovered a synergistic effect by adding disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid to acidified sodium nitrite, which led to the development of AB569.

P. aeruginosa is a significant cause of bacterial respiratory infections in patients who have CF or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is also a common cause of other pneumonias. Once patients have the antibiotic-resistant mucoid form of P. aeruginosa, however, their overall lung function precipitously declines, resulting in a poor clinical prognosis.