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Monoclonal antibody-based therapies for bacterial infections

Motley, Michael P.a,b; Banerjee, Kasturia,c; Fries, Bettina C.a,b,c

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: June 2019 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 210–216
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000539
PATHOGENESIS AND IMMUNE RESPONSE: Edited by Dennis L. Stevens and Dimitri A. Diavatopoulos

Purpose of review This review highlights recent developments in the development of monoclonal antibodies to treat bacterial disease, including preclinical advances and the status of current clinical trials.

Recent findings Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy is becoming increasingly promising in the infectious disease field. Though bacterial exotoxins continue to be a mainstay of mAb targets, searches for protein targets on the surface of bacteria have uncovered new mechanisms of antibody-mediated action against bacteria. Additionally, surveys of the polysaccharide serotype prevalence among antibiotic-resistant bacterial populations have yielded opportunities to leverage human selective pressures to our clinical advantage. Several mAb candidates are progressing through clinical development with great promise, especially those with structures altered to provide maximum benefit. Although other clinical trials have recently proved unsuccessful, these failures and lessons from immune profiling provide opportunities to understand how vulnerabilities of certain targets may change in different disease states.

Summary Despite the hurdles of identifying effective targets and understanding how mAbs provide protection within different infections, we show that the progress made in these fields is a positive indication of mAbs becoming more widely accepted as the future for treating bacterial infections.

aInfectious Disease Division, Department of Medicine

bDepartment of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook

cVeteran's Administration Medical Center, Northport, New York, USA

Correspondence to Bettina C. Fries, Infectious Disease Division, Department of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA. Tel: +1 631 638 7948; e-mail:

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