Modified Nanoparticles for Lipophilic Toxin Sequestration
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites of molds and fungi, many of which are pathogenic to humans. In general, mycotoxins enter the body through the skin, digestive tract, or through respiration. Exposure to a few milligrams can be lethal. Mycotoxins have a high likelihood of being weaponized, due to their ease of large scale production. One possible way to counteract the effect of mycotoxins is to neutralize them by sequestration in lipophilic membranes, apart from cell membranes. Using cholesterol as a safe and relevant model system for sequestering membrane incorporated lipophilic toxins, AuraSense proposes to use lipid and protein-modified gold nanoparticles to develop constructs for the sequestration of toxic lipophilic molecules. In Phase I, AuraSense demonstrated that the mycotoxin binding nanoparticles synthesized were able to sequester the toxin analogue in buffered saline solutions and in in vitro cell culture assays. In Phase II, AuraSense will extend these experiments in to in vivo systems and examine the ability of the nanoparticles to sequester and excrete these toxins. BENEFIT: The key technological objective in this proposal is to demonstrate that a mycotoxin binding platform is a useful therapy for combating the toxic effects of exposure. AuraSense's mycotoxin binding nanoparticles (MB NP) constructs address a key unmet need: the lack of effective agents for transporting lipophilic toxins, such as mycotoxins, safely out of the body. In response to this unmet need, the Company's objective is a medical countermeasure based upon the MB NP platform and tailored for use against major classes of lipophilic toxins in a field setting. Such a product, if properly configured, could prove essential in responding to a particularly dangerous, and plausible, terrorist or foreign military attack.
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