Pulmonary Care: Using Desferrioxamine (DFX) To Block Iron To Stimulate The Lung Immune System To Control Pathogenic Infections
: Despite the fact that COVID-19 is te main disease that he world is focused on right now, TB or tuberculosis remains the biggest infection killer in the world and multiple drug resistant TB, which does not respond to regular antibiotics, continues to be a major threat to global health.
Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis kills over 4,000 individuals daily throughout the world; while resistant and highly complex cases of TB continue to rise year after year, with cases numbering over 300 annually.
Medical researchers from Trinity College Dublin and St James's Hospital, Dublin have discovered how the iron chelator, Desferrioxamine or DFX, which functions by attaching to iron, drives the immune system to deal with tuberculosis (TB).
The research findings have been published in the journal: Frontiers in Immunology.
Although Iron is critical for various daily human functions, it is also an essential element for the survival of viruses and bacteria.
Medical researchers for some time have already known that depriving infections of iron can limit bacterial burden and help improve patient outcomes.
The study team, led by Dr Joseph Keane a Professor at Trinity College has shown for the first time how Desferrioxamine supports lung immunity against Tuberculosis by driving the activation of a key metabolic pathway called 'glycolysis'. The process of glycolysis helps immune cells make energy to fight infection which in turn drives several signals that improve the macrophages' (white blood cells) ability to address TB infection.
By aiding the immune cells turn on glycolysis, Desferrioxamine has the potential to aid in developing more lung targeted treatment of pulmonary infection, which is the ultimate goal of this research group; by boosting the patient's immune response using the iron binding agent, Desferrioxamine.
Senior author of the study, Dr James Phelan from the department of clinical medicine, Trinity College said, "Infectious disease experts globally agree on the important role metabolic processes play in eradicating a variety of infections; Desferrioxamine helps infected immune cells to readily switch on metabolism which could help immune cells fight the infection."
Already a clinical trial is underway using Desferrioxamine to treat COVID-19. However it is unclear how Desferrioxamine might help the human lung fight infection; this research has the potential to greater understand this.
In other related experiments, the Trinity researchers demonstrate that Desferrioxamine also works in a cellular model of sepsis, which broadens the appeal of this Desferrioxamine strategy in fighting other infectious diseases and supports the clinical trial underway of Desferrioxamine or DFX for COVID-19 disease.
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