Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a very common bacterium that can cause disease in both plants and animals. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic and naturally multi-drug resistant pathogen. For healthy people, the bacteria usually do not cause illness or only cause minor problems such as hot tub rash. More serious infections often occur in people in the hospital with another disease or people with a weakened immune system.
Bronchiectasis is a condition in which the airways of the lung are permanently damaged, widened, and thickened. Typical symptoms include chronic cough production, breathing difficulties, and recurrent infections. Bronchiectasis induces severe inflammation and tissue damage, making the lung more prone to further infections.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a main pathogen found in bronchiectasis patients, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. They researchers previously found that about 20% of patients with bronchiectasis and chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection had excess IgG2 specific to the bacterial O-antigen. Unlike normal antibodies that protect the body against foreign materials, this IgG2 inhibited the immune system from killing the the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium. Importantly, patients with the inhibitory antibody had more severe lung disease.
There is a hypothesis that removing the inhibitory antibody from the blood of patients might be a way to restore host immune killing and improve patient prognosis. Now a team led by researchers at the University of Birmingham finds that an approach called plasmapheresis can help remove these harmful antibodies.
In the new study, the researchers recruited two patients with bronchiectasis who had chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and failed to respond to antibiotic treatment, and used an approach called plasmapheresis to remove the inhibitory antibody from their blood. After treatment, both patients showed great improvement in health. Days in the hospital and antibiotic use dropped significantly.
The results were encouraging and promising. Plasmapheresis is similar to kidney dialysis and is typically used to treat conditions in which harmful autoantibodies arise. This study suggests that plasmapheresis may help manage chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in bronchiectasis patients. The study appears in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In addition, Cusabio offers various antibodies.