Our research group at the University of Minnesota has been studying the structure and function of the body’s antimicrobial proteins for more than 20 years. Supported by research grants from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, we were the first to report that certain antimicrobial proteins protected mucosal epithelial cells against invading bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Based on this spectrum of antimicrobial protection, our therapeutics are potentially effective in the prevention and treatment of infections as varied as food poisoning and periodontal diseases.
Using our unique approach (Patents Pending) that has been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we apply the body’s messages that instruct cells of the mucosal surfaces to make antimicrobial proteins. We have shown that these messages are taken up by the cells directly, function in the presence of mucosal fluids, cause no significant harm to the cells, and protect the cells against invading bacteria for at least 3 days.
In collaboration with the Center for Translational Medicine at the University of Minnesota, pre-clinical studies have recently been initiated. We also remain committed to improving our therapeutics by studying and applying new and emerging technologies.
Our first disease target is periodontal diseases. Roughly 50% of adults world-wise are affected by periodontal diseases, the major cause of tooth loss. Initially, we envision that our therapeutics will be professionally applied because of the challenge of directing the agents to the correct locations in the mouth. One day, our therapeutics could be applied in a toothpaste.
We are also interested in developing therapeutics for infections such as food poisoning, sinusitis and vaginosis.