Biothera Compound Primes Immune Cells Without Causing Inflammation

Research to be presented at Experimental Biology 2005 in April

Eagan, MN – March 30, 2005 – The problem with many drugs designed to enhance the immune system is that they end up over-stimulating it, triggering potentially harmful inflammation due to proteins known as cytokines. The side effects include fever, malaise, joint pains, and leaky capillaries.

Researchers at Brown University have shown that Imprime™ PGG from Biothera primes immune cells to improve host defenses without eliciting pro-inflammatory cytokines. Imprime PGG is a soluble beta glucan derived from the cell walls of yeast. Ongoing studies are directed at determining the mechanism of action whereby an immune enhancer can improve the function of the immune system without inducing cytokines. The research will be presented April 4 at Experimental Biology 2005 in San Diego.

In pre-clinical research, innate immune cells called macrophages that were pre-treated with Imprime PGG repressed the level of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a compared with those of untreated macrophages that were stimulated by bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide). This work shows that Imprime PGG may not only enhance beneficial aspects of immune priming, but may also limit the harmful effects of systemic inflammation.

“The results show the potential benefits of Imprime PGG as an immune system enhancer,” said Jonathan Reichner, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Surgery at the Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI. “One of the drawbacks with pharmaceutical compounds designed to stimulate the immune system has been the side-effects associated with the over-expression of certain cytokines that patients cannot tolerate. Imprime PGG is unique in its ability to prime immune cells without eliciting cytokines.”

Mr. Brian Leblanc, a graduate student in Dr. Reichner’s laboratory, will give a presentation at the conference entitled, “The effect of b-glucan on cytokine transcription in macrophages.” The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program.

About the Conferences
More than 16,000 biological and biomedical scientists are expected to attend Experimental Biology 2005, an international meeting that each year brings together scientists from numerous disciplines. This year the meeting will be held in conjunction with the 35th International Congress of Physiological Sciences, which is held every five years.

About Biothera, the Immune Health Company
Biothera is a biotechnology company dedicated to improving immune health. The company's primary focus is developing pharmaceuticals whose unique mechanism of action engages immune cells not normally involved in the fight against cancer. In addition, Biothera’s healthcare group manufactures and markets food-grade immune-enhancing ingredients for the nutritional supplement, functional food, cosmetic and the animal feed and nutrition markets. Website:

David Walsh
VP, Communications
Biothera, the Immune Health Company
[email protected]

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