Long Chain Sphingoid as Preventing Infection (No. T4-1673)

Lead Researcher: Prof. Anthony H. Futerman


CF is the most common autosomal recessive disorder in western countries, affecting approximately 30,000 people in the US alone. A major risk in CF arises from chronic bacterial lung infections, affecting 80% of CF patients by the age of 25. Bacterial lung infections are also of major clinical importance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), trauma, burn wounds, sepsis, or in patients requiring ventilation. The infections are currently treated with antibiotics, which rapidly become inefficient as resistant bacteria strains arise. The present technology suggests a novel therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of bacterial lung infection in susceptible populations, especially CF patients


  • Alternative treatment for bacterial lung infections.

  • A prophylaxis for patients susceptible to bacterial lung infections
  • Advantages

  • A novel therapeutic approach to prevent or cure bacterial lung infection.

  • The new therapy is based on reinforcement of the physiological innate immunity rather than on antibiotics.

  • The new therapy can be easily administered, via inhalation.

  • FTY720, a SPH analog, is already in clinical use for treating multiple sclerosis.
  • Technology's Essence

    Sphingosine (SPH), a natural bactericidal agent which acts as a part of the human innate immune system in the skin, was found to be an effective treatment and prophylaxis for bacterial lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) mice. The new technology is based on the discovery that both CF human patients and CF mice display reduced rates of SPH in the airways. Moreover, normalizing SPH levels by inhalation prevents or cures the infections in CF mice, thus rendering SPH and its analogs a potent therapeutic agent for CF patients, an alternative to antibiotics.