New molecular tools to inhibit ‘’bad’’ inflammation in infected tissue and reduce the risk of sepsis
IRF7 inhibitors – a new way of regulating inflammation and resistance to infection
Specific genes regulate innate immune responses to bacterial infection and the outcome of genetic variation can be beneficial or destructive, depending on the extent of inflammation and the efficiency of the anti-bacterial defense. Modulation of the innate immune system represents a promising, relatively under-explored alternative to failing antimicrobial therapies.
It is essential to boost protective functions of host innate immunity, so that symptoms and tissue destruction caused by exaggerated host responses can be isolated and avoided. We have developed a new therapeutic approach to target the destructive response to infection in mice, without reducing bacterial clearance.
The results suggested that suppression of Irf7 might be beneficial, identifying Irf7 as an immunotherapeutic target. Specifically, we have successfully used siRNA therapy to silence Irf7 and shown protection in susceptible mice.
Our clinical implications:
- Suppression of IRF-7 is identified as a strategy to treat infections.
- Ongoing clinical trials in other types of diseases support the feasibility of RNAi based therapies.
- We will explore Irf7 as an immunotherapeutic target in susceptible patient groups.
- These findings may open new doors to treat infections, in particular where antibiotics are failing.