In a study published online in July in The Journal of Infectious Diseases,
Margaret Hostetter, MD and a team of researchers revealed that they have
found an agent that could prevent Candida
infections that often afflict hospitalized patients on central lines.
Earlier research by Hostetter’s
team showed that
heparin, when fed through central lines to prevent clotting, binds with the Candida albicans yeast
that lives on and in all of us. Candida uses
the binding to elude the body’s immune response and to form biofilms –
communities of microorganisms that grow on the inside surface of the
catheters. Biofilms are the first step
in bloodstream infections with the yeast.
and her team developed an antibody that prevents Candida albicans from binding with heparin and thereby stops
biofilm formation in a rat model of catheter-associated infection.
how the medications in catheters facilitate biofilm formation by microbes can
lead to new strategies for prevention of line infections,”says Hostetter.
collaborators on the study included researchers from Duke University Medical
Center, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Wisconsin. When the
antibody is modified to be compatible with humans, clinical trials of the
treatment can begin in humans.