Immunotherapies against bacterial infections (AG Simonis)

Our focus: Development of monoclonal antibodies targeting multidrug-resistant bacteria

Deutsche Version

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria is a major public health concern with increasing morbidity and mortality throughout the world. While nowadays new drugs and therapeutic approaches are on the rise, the clinical implementation of innovative therapeutics in the treatment of bacterial infections is stagnating. To overcome the limited amount of new chemical substances with antibiotic activity, the development of immunotherapies, which enhance the host immune response, seems reasonable. This approach might be particularly effective in immunocompromised patients such as critically ill patients or patients receiving chemotherapy.

The aim of our junior research group, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is to establish a comprehensive platform to develop antibacterial monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of severe infections with MDR bacteria. This platform is composed of different screening assays to identify individuals with antibacterial antibodies among a study cohort, followed by the characterization and production of patient-derived monoclonal antibodies from specific B cells. Mode of action of these antibodies can include direct inhibition of specific bacterial virulence factors, enhancing opsonophagocytosis or activation of the complement cascade and subsequent bacteriolysis. This approach allows us to identify and to produce a multitude of diverse antibodies targeting various MDR bacteria and represents a nearly exhaustless source of new antibodies, target epitopes and therapeutic approaches. Monoclonal antibodies with proven protective effects are supposed to be further evaluated in clinical trials and will hopefully provide a basis for lifesaving new therapeutics for severe bacterial infections in the future.

Dr. Alexander Simonis

Head of the Research Group Immunotherapies against bacterial infections

ZMMK, Building 66

telephone icon +49 221 478-89608
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