Periodontitis Bacterium May Hold the Cure for Leukemia

Dentistry Today


Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans causes periodontal disease. But it also produces a protein that can be used to kill leukemia cells in animals, according to the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. It has potential for treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases as well, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and HIV infection. 

Now, researcher Scott Kachlany, PhD, has received a $4.4 million commitment in venture capital from Kairos Ventures to pay for the final stages of preclinical development before his company Actinobac Biomed can test its Leukothera therapeutic technology on human beings. Toxicity effects on animals indicate that Leukothera is very well tolerated.

“Even at very high doses of the drug, there are no side effects,” said Kachlany, an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology. He will use the funding to seek matching funding from the National Institutes of Health with a goal of testing Leukothera within the next 3 years on human beings who have leukemia and lymphoma.

“Rutgers is very excited about this important funding that will allow Actinobac to advance the Leukothera technology toward commercialization,” said S. David Kimball, PhD, associate vice president of research commercialization at Rutgers. “This can have major implications for the treatment of blood cancer patients.”

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