Media Release | Jul. 3, 2012

Inhalable nitric oxide shown safe as potential anti-microbial treatment: UBC-VCH research

Results from a clinical study by a UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health research team have increased hope for a new, effective and inexpensive anti-microbial treatment using inhalable nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is produced naturally by the body’s immune system and is a potent anti-microbial agent against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, but the safety of nitric oxide given to humans at microbe killing concentrations has not been studied until now.

In the new study, published in this month’s edition of the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, healthy adult volunteers show no adverse effects associated with therapeutic antimicrobial concentrations of nitric oxide. The study was conducted at UBC Hospital, where healthy volunteers were recruited and inhaled nitric oxide gas was administrated over a period of one week.

“In retrospect, it’s not surprising to find that a molecule naturally produced in our own body to fight invading pathogens is useful as an antimicrobial drug,” says lead author Prof. Chris Miller, assistant professor in UBC’s Division of Respiratory Medicine and a member of the Immunity and Infection Research Centre at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. “This study confirms the safety aspect of an efficacious mode of delivery.”

This Phase I safety study was funded by the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation, and leads the way to efficacy studies targeting the spread of resistant pulmonary infections – focusing first on Cystic Fibrosis and Tuberculosis,  a deadly pulmonary infection  that kill millions of people every year. The study results were licensed by the UBC Industry Liaison Office to AIT, an Israeli company.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine provides innovative programs in the health and life sciences, teaching students at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels. Its faculty members received $295 million in research funds, 54 percent of UBC’s total research revenues, in 2010-11. For more information, visit www.med.ubc.ca

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which includes BC’s largest academic and teaching health sciences centres: VGH, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. In academic partnership with the University of British Columbia, VCHRI brings innovation and discovery to patient care, advancing healthier lives in healthy communities across British Columbia, Canada, and beyond. www.vchri.ca.

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Prof. Chris Miller
UBC/VCHRI
Cell: 778-899-06075
E-mail: miller42@mail.ubc.ca

Lisa Carver
VCH Research Institute
Tel: 604.875.4111×61777
Cell: 604.319.7533
E-mail: lisa.carver@vch.ca

Brian Lin
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2234
Cell: 604.818.5685
E-mail: brian.lin@ubc.ca

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