BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Many pathogens produce toxins which are detrimental, and in some cases, lethal, to the host organism. Toxins produced by pathogens can be classified into two general categories, exotoxins and endotoxins.
Exotoxins are generally proteins or polypeptides. These toxins, which are secreted by the pathogen, can travel within the host and cause damage in regions of the host far removed from the infection site. Symptoms associated with exotoxins vary greatly and include hemolysis, systemic shock, destruction of leukocytes, vomiting, paralysis and diarrhea.
Enterotoxins are exotoxins which act on the small intestine and cause massive secretion of fluid into the intestinal lumen, leading to diarrhea. Enterotoxins are produced by a variety of bacteria, including the food-poisoning organisms Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, and Bacillus cereus, and the intestinal pathogens Vibrio cholerae, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella enteritidis.
Endotoxins are lipopolysaccharides/lipoproteins found in the outer layer of the cell walls of gram-negative bacteria. These lipopolysaccharides are bound to the cell membrane and are released upon cytolysis. Symptoms associated with the release of endotoxins include fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Specifically, endotoxins stimulate host cells to release proteins, endogenous pyrogens, which affect the area of the brain which regulates body temperature. In addition to fever, diarrhea and vomiting, the host animal may experience a rapid decrease in lymphocyte, leukocyte, and platelet numbers, and enter into a general inflammatory state.
Although endotoxins are less toxic than exotoxins, large doses of endotoxins can cause death, generally through hemorrhagic shock and tissue necrosis. Examples of bacteria which produce endotoxins include bacteria of the genera Escherichia, Shigella, and especially Salmonella.
In some cases, the active disease caused by an exotoxin can be treated by administering an antitoxin to the patient. An antitoxin comprises antibodies to the toxin derived from the serum of an animal, typically a horse, which has been immunized by injection of a toxoid, a nontoxic derivative of the toxin. However, the effectiveness of antitoxins is limited because toxins are rapidly taken up by cells and become unavailable to the antibodies. Furthermore, the patient's immune system can respond to foreign proteins present in the antitoxin, creating a condition known as serum sickness.
Therefore, a need exists for an improved method of treating a toxin-mediated condition which significantly reduces or eliminates the above-mentioned problems.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a method of inhibiting a toxin in an animal, such as a human, by administering to the animal a therapeutically effective amount of a polymer having a plurality of pendant acid functional groups which are directly attached to the polymer backbone or attached to the polymer backbone by a spacer group. The spacer group can have a length in the range from 0 to about 20 atoms. The toxin is, typically, an exotoxin secreted by a pathogenic microorganism, such as a bacterium.
Suitable acid functional groups include carboxylic acid, sulfonic acid, phosphonic acid, hydrosulfate, hydrophosphate, sulfamic acid and boronic acid groups. The acid groups can also be present in the conjugate base form in combination with a suitable cation.
In one embodiment, the polymer to be administered is a copolymer characterized by a first monomer or repeat unit having a pendant acid functional group and a second monomer or repeat unit having a pendant hydrophobic group. In another embodiment, the polymer is characterized by a monomer or repeat unit having a pendant acid functional group and a pendant hydrophobic group. The polymer to be administered can, optionally, be further characterized by a monomer or repeat unit comprising a neutral hydrophilic group, such as a hydroxyl group or an amide group.
The present method has several advantages. For example, the polymers employed are easily prepared using standard techniques of polymer synthesis and inexpensive starting materials. The polymers will not be substantially degraded in the gastrointestinal tract and, therefore, can be administered orally. Polymer compositions can also be readily varied, to optimize properties such as solubility, water swellability and toxin binding ability.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a method of inhibiting a pathogenic or microbial toxin in a patient, such as a human, by administering to the patient a therapeutically effective amount of a polymer comprising a plurality of pendant acid functional groups. The acid functional group can be directly bonded to the polymer backbone or linked to the polymer backbone by an aliphatic spacer group having a length of from 1 to about 20 atoms.
As used herein the term “inhibiting a microbial toxin” refers to inhibiting the activity of a toxin which is associated with the development of a particular disease state or medical condition. The microbial toxin is an endotoxin or exotoxin produced by a microorganism, such as a bacterium, a fungus or a protozoan. The toxin can be inhibited by any mechanism, including, but not limited to, binding of the toxin by the polymer. As used herein, a “therapeutically effective amount” is an amount sufficient to inhibit or prevent, partially or totally, tissue damage or other symptoms associated with the action of the toxin within or on the body of the patient or to prevent or reduce the further progression of such symptoms.
The term “monomer”, as used herein, refers to both a molecule comprising one or more polymerizable functional groups prior to polymerization, and a repeat unit of a polymer. A copolymer is said to characterized by the presence of two or more different monomers.
As used herein, the term “polymer backbone” or “backbone” refers to that portion of the polymer which is a continuous chain comprising the bonds which are formed between monomers upon polymerization. The composition of the polymer backbone can be described in terms of the identity of the monomers from which it is formed, without regard to the composition of branches, or side chains, off of the polymer backbone. Thus, poly(acrylic acid) is said to have a poly(ethylene) backbone which is substituted with carboxylic acid (—C(O)OH) groups as side chains.
A “pendant” group is a moiety which forms a side chain or a portion of a side chain attached to the polymer backbone. A pendant group can, for example, be bonded directly to one or more atoms within the polymer backbone or can be connected to the polymer backbone by way of a spacer group.
The acid-functionalized monomer comprises a pendant acid functional group, such as a carboxylic acid group, a sulfonic acid group, a hydrosulfate group, a phosphonic acid group, a sulfamic acid group, a hydrophosphate group or a boronic acid group. Acid functional groups are referred to herein as the acid or protonated form. However, it is to be understood that any acid functional group can also exist in the conjugate base or deprotonated form in combination with a pharmaceutically acceptable cation. The polymer to be administered can include acid functional groups in either the protonated form, the deprotonated form or a combination thereof. Suitable cations include alkali metal ions, such as sodium and potassium ions, alkaline earth ions, such as calcium and magnesium ions, transition metal ions and unsubstituted and substituted (primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary) ammonium ions. In one embodiment, the cation is a polyvalent metal ion, such as Ca2+, Mg2+, Zn2+, Al3+, Bi3+, Fe2+ or Fe3+.
It is preferred that the polymer is substantially free of acid anhydride groups. For example, less than 5%, preferably less than 2%. More preferably none of the acid functional groups within the polymer are present in the anhydride form.
The acid functional group can be directly bonded to the polymer backbone, or can be attached to the polymer backbone via a spacer group. The spacer group is a component of the polymer side chain and connects the acid functional group to the polymer backbone. The spacer group can be linear, branched or cyclic, aliphatic, aromatic or partially aromatic and partially aliphatic. Suitable aliphatic spacer groups include normal or branched, saturated or partially unsaturated hydrocarbyl groups, including alkylene groups, for example, polymethylene groups such as —(CH2)n—, wherein n is an integer from 1 to about 20, and cycloalkylene groups, such as the 1,4-cyclohexylene group. The alkylene group can be substituted or unsubstituted. Suitable alkylene substituents include hydroxyl groups and halogen atoms, for example, fluorine, chlorine and bromine atoms. The alkylene group can also, optionally, be interrupted at one or more points by a heteroatom, such as an oxygen, nitrogen or sulfur atom. Examples include the oxaalkylene groups —(CH2)2O[(CH2)2O]n(CH2)2—, wherein n is an integer ranging from 0 to about 3. The spacer group can also be a partially unsaturated group, such as a substituted or unsubstituted C2-C20-alkenylene group or a C2-C20-alkenylene group interrupted at one or more points by a heteroatom. Suitable aromatic spacer groups include ortho-, meta- and para-phenylene groups, naphthylene groups and biphenylene groups.
In one embodiment, at least a portion of the repeat units within the polymer further include a pendant hydrophobic group. The pendant hydrophobic group can be a substituted or unsubstituted, saturated or partially unsaturated C2-C24-hydrocarbyl group or a substituted or unsubstituted aryl or arylalkyl group. Examples of suitable alkyl substituents include halogen atoms, such as fluorine or chlorine atoms, and aryl groups, such as a phenyl group. Aryl substituents can include halogen atoms, C1-C6-alkyl groups and C1-C6-alkoxy groups. Preferably, the pendant hydrophobic group is a normal or branched C2-C24-alkyl group.
In one embodiment, the polymer to be administered is a homopolymer. In another embodiment, the polymer to be administered is a copolymer which is characterized by an acid-functionalized monomer and a hydrophobic monomer. The term “hydrophobic monomer”, as used herein, is a monomer which comprises a pendant hydrophobic group, as described above. Suitable hydrophobic monomers include, but are not limited to, a substituted or unsubstituted N—C3-C24-alkylacrylamide, such as N-n-decylacrylamide and N-isopropylacrylamide; substituted or unsubstituted C3-C24-alkylacrylates, such as n-butylacrylate and n-decylacrylate; styrene and substituted styrenes, such as pentafluorostyrene and 4-fluorostyrene; vinylnaphthalene and vinylbiphenyl. The copolymer can have a wide range of compositions, comprising, for example, from about 10 mole % to about 50 mole % of the hydrophobic monomer, and from about 90 mole % to about 50 mole % of the acid-functionalized monomer.
In a preferred embodiment, the polymer to be administered is characterized by a repeat unit which comprises one acid functional group. In this embodiment, no two acid functional groups within the polymer will be connected to adjacent polymer backbone atoms. In one embodiment, the polymer to be administered is characterized by a repeat unit or monomer of the general formula
wherein X is a spacer group, as described above, or a direct bond, R1 and R2 are each, independently, hydrogen or an alkyl group, preferably methyl or ethyl, and Y is an acid functional group. Examples of suitable monomers of this type include acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, vinylsulfonic acid, vinylphosphonic acid, 3-allyloxy-2-hydroxy-1-propanesulfonic acid, vinylacetic acid and esters of vinyl alcohol and allyl alcohol with mineral acids, such as sulfuric, phosphoric and boric acids, including vinyl hydrosulfate, vinyl dihydrophosphate, allyl hydrosulfate, allyl dihydrophosphate and conjugate bases thereof. The monomer can also be polymerized alkene which is substituted with an acid functional group, such as undecenoic acid, undecenyl hydrosulfate and undecenyl sulfonic acid. Other suitable examples include acid-functionalized styrene, such as styrene sulfonate, styrene phosphonate and vinylbenzoic acid, acid-functionalized vinylnaphthalene, such as vinylnaphthalene sulfonate, and acid-functionalized vinylbiphenyl, such as vinylbiphenyl sulfonate.
In another embodiment, the polymer to be administered is characterized by a repeat unit or monomer of the general formula
wherein Z is oxygen or NH and X is a spacer group, as described above, or a direct bond. Y is an acid functional group and R1 and R2 are each, independently, hydrogen or an alkyl group, preferably methyl or ethyl. Examples of suitable monomers of this type include 2-acrylamidoglycolic acid and 2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid.
Suitable copolymers for use in the present method include copolymers of acrylic acid and a C2-C20-alkylacrylate, such as poly(acrylic acid-co-n-decylacrylate) and poly(acrylic acid-co-n-butylacrylate). Also included are copolymers of acrylic acid and an N—C2-C20 alkylacrylamide, such as poly(acrylic acid-co-N-isopropylacrylamide) and poly(acrylic acid-co-N-n-decylacrylamide), and copolymers of acrylic acid with styrene or a substituted styrene, such as pentafluorostyrene or 4-fluorostyrene.
In another embodiment, the polymer to be administered is a copolymer comprising an acid-functionalized monomer, a hydrophobic monomer and a neutral hydrophilic monomer. A neutral hydrophilic monomer is a monomer comprising a polar group which is neither appreciably acidic nor appreciably basic at physiological pH. Examples of suitable neutral hydrophilic monomers include acrylamide, N-(2-hydroxyethyl) acrylamide, N-(3-hydroxypropyl)acrylamide, 2-hydroxyethylacrylate, vinyl acetate, vinyl alcohol and N-vinylpyrrolidone. A suitable copolymer of this type is the terpolymer poly(acrylic acid-co-n-decylacrylate-co-acrylamide).
The polymer to be administered can also be characterized by a repeat unit comprising both a pendant hydrophobic group and a pendant acid functional group. Suitable hydrophobic groups and acid functional groups include those discussed above. Polymers of this type include poly(2-alkylacrylic acid), wherein the alkyl group comprises from 2 to about 24 carbon atoms. One suitable polymer of this type is poly(2-ethylacrylic acid) or a conjugate base thereof. The polymer to be administered can also comprise a first monomer having a pendant hydrophobic group and a pendant acid functional group and a second neutral, hydrophilic monomer, such as the neutral hydrophilic monomers previously discussed.
In one embodiment, the polymer to be administered comprises a first repeat unit which comprises a pendant acid functional group and a second repeat unit which comprises a pendant acid derivative, such as an amide group or an ester group. Suitable examples of polymers of this type include poly(styrenesulfonate) in which a portion of the sulfonate groups have been converted to sulfonamide or sulfonate ester groups and polyacrylaye in which a portion of the carboxylate groups have been converted to amide or ester groups. The properties of the polymer can be varied by varying the amount and chemical features of the groups introduced into the polymer via the amidation or esterification process. In one embodiment, the polymer comprises repeat units having pendant ester groups, where the ester group is derived from an alcohol, such as menthol, a bile acid, such as cholic acid or lithocholic acid, or an alkanol, such as a normal or branched C4-C12-alkanol. In another embodiment, the polymer comprises repeat units having pendant amide groups, where the amide groups are derived from an amine, such as an alkylamine, for example, a normal or branched C4-C12-alkylamine or an ammonioalkylamine. Suitable ammonioalkylamines include compounds of the formula R1(R2)(R3)N+(CH2)nNH2, where R1, R2 and R3 are each, independently, hydrogen, a C1-C12-alkyl group or an arylalkyl group, and n is an integer from 1 to about 12.
In another embodiment, the polymer to be administered is a copolymer comprising an acid-functionalized monomer or repeat unit, a cationic repeat unit and, optionally, a hydrophobic repeat unit and/or a neutral hydrophilic repeat unit. For example, the acid-functionalized, hydrophobic and neutral hydrophilic repeat unit can include any of the repeat units of these types discussed above. The cationic repeat unit carries a positive charge under physiological conditions, and, preferably, includes a pendant amino or ammonium group. Suitable repeat units of this type include those disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/934,495, incorporated herein by reference n its entirety. Examples of suitable cationic repeat units include allylamine, N-substituted allylamine, quaternized allylamine, diallylamine, N-substituted diallylamine, quaternized diallylamine, vinylamine, N-substituted vinylamine, quaternized vinylamine, N-aminoalkylacrylamide and -methacrylamide, N-ammonioalkylacrylamide and -methacrylamide, aminoalkyacrylate and -methacrylate, and ammonioalkylacrylate and-methacrylate. The ratio of anionic and cationic repeat units can vary widely, for example, from about 95% anionic monomer and 5% cationic monomer relative to the total charged monomers in the polymer, to about 5% anionic monomer and 95% cationic monomer relative to the total charged monomers.
The polymers of use in the present method can be linear or crosslinked. The polymer can be crosslinked, for example, by the incorporation within the polymer of a multifunctional comonomer. Suitable multifunctional co-monomers include diacrylates, triacrylates and tetraacrylates, dimethacrylates, diacrylamides, diallylacrylamide, di(methacrylamides), triallylamine and tetraalkylammonium ion. Specific examples include ethylene glycol diacrylate, propylene glycol diacrylate, butylene glycol diacrylate, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate, butylene glycol dimethacrylate, methylene bis(methacrylamide), ethylene bis(acrylamide), ethylene bis(methacrylamide), ethylidene bis(acrylamide), ethylidene bis(methacrylamide), pentaerythritol tetraacrylate, trimethylolpropane triacrylate, bisphenol A dimethacrylate, and bisphenol A diacrylate. Other suitable multifunctional monomers include polyvinylarenes, such as divinylbenzene. The amount of crosslinking agent is typically between about 1.0% and about 30% by weight relative to the weight of the polymer, preferably from about 5% to about 25% by weight.
The polymer can also be cross-linked subsequent to polymerization. For example, a portion of the acid functional groups can be converted to a reactive derivative, as is known in the art. For example, carboxylic acid and sulfonic acid groups react with thionyl chloride to produce, respectively, acyl chloride and sulfonyl chloride groups. These reactive groups can then be reacted with a diamine, a dialcohol or an amino alcohol, preferably diamine, a dialcohol or an amino alcohol in which the amino and/or hydroxyl groups are separated by an alkylene chain, such as a C3-C18-alkylene chain. This reaction results in the formation of ester and/or amide groups on a given polymer chain which are linked to similar groups on adjacent polymer chains. The extent of cross-linking can be controlled, for example, by controlling the fraction of acid functional groups which are converted to reactive groups.
The molecular weight of the polymer is not critical, but is, preferably, suitable for the intended mode of administration and allows the polymer to reach and remain within the targeted region of the body. For example, a method for treating an intestinal infection should utilize a polymer of sufficiently high molecular weight or degree of cross-linking to resist absorption, partially or completely, from the gastrointestinal tract into other parts of the body. Preferably, if linear, the polymer to be administered has a molecular weight ranging from about greater than 1 million Daltons, such as 2,000 Daltons to about 500,000 Daltons, 5,000 Daltons to about 150,000 Daltons, or about 25,000 Daltons to about 1 million Daltons.
The polymers of use in the present method are preferably substantially nonbiodegradable and nonabsorbable. That is, the polymers do not substantially break down under physiological conditions into fragments which are absorbable by body tissues. The polymers preferably have a nonhydrolyzable backbone, which is substantially inert under conditions encountered in the target region of the body, such as the gastrointestinal tract. Polymer backbones which are suitable for the present invention include polyacrylamide, polyacrylate, poly(vinyl) and poly(ethyleneimine), polystyrene backbones. A co-polymer of the present invention can comprise a combination of two or more of these backbone elements. The polymer to be administered can also be an condensation polymer, such as a polyamide or a polyester.
The quantity of a given polymer to be administered will be determined on an individual basis and will be determined, at least in part, by consideration of the individual's size, the identity of the known or suspected pathogenic organism, the severity of symptoms to be treated and the result sought. The polymer can be administered alone or in a pharmaceutical composition comprising the polymer and one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carriers, diluents or excipients. The pharmaceutical composition can also, optionally, include one or more additional drugs, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents or analgesics.
The polymer can be administered by subcutaneous or other injection, intravenously, topically, orally, parenterally, transdermally, or rectally through feeding tube. Preferably, the polymer or the pharmaceutical composition comprising the polymer is administered orally. The form in which the polymer is administered, for example, powder, tablet, capsule, solution, or emulsion, will depend on the route by which it is administered. The therapeutically effective amount can be administered in a single dose or in a series of doses separated by appropriate time intervals, such as hours.
The polymer can also administered in combination with one or more antimicrobial agents, for example, selected from among antibiotics which are known in the art. The antibiotic to be administered is, generally, selected based on the identity or suspected identity of the pathogenic microorganism, as is known in the art. For example, if the pathogenic microorganism is C. parvum, one suitable antibiotic which can be administered in combination with the polymer is paromomycin. The polymer and the antimicrobial agent can be administered simultaneously, for example, in separate dosage forms or in a single dosage form, or in sequence separated by appropriate time intervals.
The term “antimicrobial agent” is intended to include antibacterial agents, antifungal agents, antiseptics and the like. The term “antibacterial agent” includes but is not limited to: naturally occurring antibiotics produced by microorganisms to suppress the growth of other microorgansims, and agents synthesized or modified in the laboratory which have either bactericidal or baceriostatic activity, e.g., β-lactam antibacterial agents including, e.g. carbencillim; ampicillin, cloxacillin, oxacillin and pieracillin, cephalosporins and other cephems including, e.g. cefaclor, cefamandole, cefazolin, cefoperazone, ceftaxime, cefoxitin, ceftazidime, ceftriazone and carbapenems incuding, elgl., imipenem and meropenem; and glycopeptides, macrolides, quinolones (e.g. nalidixic acid), tetracyclines, aminoglycosides (e.g. Gentamicin and Paromomycin)and further includes antifungal agents. In general if an antibacterial agent is bacteriostatic, it means that the agent essentially stops bacterial cell growth (but does not kill the bacteria); if the agent is bacteriocidal, it means that the agent kills bacterial cells (and may stop growth before killing the bacteria).
In one embodiment, the polymer which comprises a plurality of pendant acid functional groups is administered in combination with a cationic polymer, preferably a polymer comprising amino and/or ammonium groups. Examples of suitable polymers of this type are disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 08/934,495, incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Suitable cationic polymers can be linear or cross-linked. Included are polymers comprising repeat units or monomers such as allylamine, diallylamine, diallylmethylamine, vinylamine, N-aminoalkylacrylamide, N-aminoalkylmethacrylamide, aminoalkylacrylate, aminoalkylmethacrylate and acid addition salts and monoalkylated, dialkylated and trialkylated (quaternized) derivatives thereof. Suitable cationic polymers include homopolymers of these repeat units and copolymers including at least one of these repeat units and, optionally, one or more hydrophobic monomers and/or neutral hydrophilic monomers, as discussed above. The acid-functionalized polymer and the cationic polymer can be administered in varying ratios by weight and can be administered simultaneously, for example, in a single dosage form or in separate dosage forms, or in a sequence separated by minutes or hours. Suitable dosages and administration methods can be readily determined by one of skill in the art. In one embodiment, the anionic polymer is poly(styrensulfonate) and the cationic polymer is poly(diallylmethylamine) or poly(diallylmethylamine) in which a portion of the repeat units have been alkylated, for example with a C4-C12-alkyl group, such as an octyl group or a decyl group.
The polymers of the present invention can be prepared via methods known in the art, for example, by direct polymerization of an acid-functionalized monomer or copolymerization of a monomer mixture comprising an acid-functionalized monomer and at least one additional co-monomer, such as a second acid-functionalized monomer, a hydrophobic monomer, a neutral hydrophilic monomer, a multifunctional cross-linking monomer or a combination thereof. The monomer mixture can be polymerized using, for example, methods of free radical, cationic or anionic polymerization which are well known in the art. Due to differences in the reactivity ratios of two or more monomers, the mole ratio of the monomers in the copolymer product can be different from the mole ratio of the monomers in the initial reaction mixture. This reactivity difference can also result in a non-random distribution of monomers along the polymer chain.
The polymers can also be synthesized by nucleophilic side chain substitution on a activated polymer. This method proceeds via an intermediate polymer having labile side chains which are readily substituted by a desired side chain. Suitable polymers of this type include poly(N-acryloyloxysuccinimide) (pNAS), which reacts with a primary amine, for example, to form an N-substituted polyacrylamide. Another suitable polymer with labile side chains is poly(4-nitrophenylacrylate), which also forms an N-substituted polyacrylamide upon reaction with a primary amine.
For example, a copolymer with a polyacrylamide backbone comprising amide nitrogen atoms substituted with an acid functional group and amide nitrogen atoms substituted with a hydrophobic group can be prepared by treating pNAS with less than one equivalent (relative to N-acryloyloxysuccinimide monomer) of a primary amine which terminates in an acid functional group, such as an amino acid, for example, glycine. A hydrophobic group can then be introduced by reacting at least a portion of the remaining N-acryloyloxysuccinimide monomers with a second primary amine, such as a C2-C20-alkylamine. A co-polymer further comprising a neutral hydrophilic monomer can be prepared by reacting any remaining N-acryloyloxysuccinimide monomers with, for example, 2-aminoethanol or ammonia. A variety of copolymer compositions can, thus, be readily obtained by treating the activated polymer with different ratios of selected amines.
The polymers of use in the present method can also be synthesized by functionalization of a precursor polymer with an acid functional group. For example, a polymer having side chains which include aryl groups can be sulfonated using known methods to produce a polymer having pendant sulfonic acid groups. Precursor polymers which include hydroxyl groups, such as poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(allyl alcohol) can be sulfated using known methods to form polymers comprising sulfate ester groups. Polymers having both acid functional groups and hydrophobic groups can also be synthesized using this general approach. For example, a poly(vinylarene) polymer, such as polystyrene can be sulfonated by reaction with, for example, fuming sulfuric acid, to form poly(styrene sulfonate).
An acid-functionalized polymer can be modified by converting at least a portion of the acid groups to an acid derivative, such as an amide or an ester. For example, poly(styrenesulfonate) can be reacted with a substoichiometric amount, based on sulfonate groups, of thionyl chloride, thereby converting a portion of the sulfonate groups to sulfonyl chloride groups. The resulting polymer can, for example, be reacted with an excess of a primary amine to convert the sulfonyl chloride groups to N-substituted-sulfonamide groups or with an alcohol to convert the sulfonyl chloride groups to sulfonate ester groups. The hydrophobicity of the resulting polymer can be varied by varying either or both of the N-substituent or ester functionality and the extent of conversion of sulfonate groups to sulfonamide or sulfonate ester groups.
Pathogenic toxins which can be inhibited by the method of the present invention include, but are not limited to, toxins, such as exotoxins and/or endotoxins produced by Streptococcus spp., including Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes; Salmonella spp., including Salmonella enteritidis; Campylobacter spp., including Campylobacter jejuni; Escherichia spp., including E. coli; Clostridia spp., including Clostridium difficile and Clostridium botulinum; Staphylococcus spp., including Staphylococcus aureus; Shigella spp., including Shigella dysenteriae; Pseudomonas spp., including Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Bordatella spp., including Bordatella pertussis; Listeria spp., including Listeria monocytogenes; Vibrio cholerae; Yersinia spp., including Yersinia enterocolitica; Legionella spp., including Legionella pneumophilia; Bacillus spp., including Bacillus anthracis; Helicobacter spp.; Corynebacteria spp.; Actinobacillus spp.; Aeromonas spp.; Bacteroides spp. including Bacteroides fragilis and Pasteurella spp. Also included are protozoal toxins, such as toxins produced by Entameoba histolytica and Acanthameoba; and parasitic toxins.
In a preferred embodiment, the toxin is an exotoxin produced by a pathogenic bacterial strain. Of particular pathogenic importance are Escherichia coli, for example, E. coli strains 06:H-, 0157:H7, 0143 and other clinical isolates, and Clostridium difficile. Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), such as 0157:H7, can cause a characteristic nonfebrile bloody diarrhea known as hemorrhagic colitis. EHEC produce high levels of one or both of two related cytotoxins which resemble a Shiga toxin in structure and function and are referred to as Shiga-like toxins (SLT I or SLT II). These Shiga-like toxins are believed to damage the intestinal mucosa, resulting in the manifestation of hemorrhagic colitis.
In a particularly preferred embodiment, the microbial toxin or toxins are produced by Clostridium difficile. C. difficile produces two toxins, Toxin A and Toxin B. Toxin A is an enterotoxin which stimulates infiltration of neutrophils and release of mediators of inflammation, resulting in fluid secretion, altered membrane permeability and hemorrhagic necrosis. Toxin B is a cytotoxin. C. difficile is associated with many cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and most cases of pseudomembranous colitis, a severe, potentially fatal inflammation of the colon. Treatment of C. difficile infection typically involves administration of vancomycin or metronidazole. In one embodiment, the condition to be treated is C. difficile induced gastroenteritis, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea or pseudomembranous colitis. In this embodiment, the polymer can, optionally be administered in combination with one or more antibiotic agents which are effective, at least partially, against C. difficile, such as vancomycin and metronidazole.
The method of the invention is useful for treating infections of various organs of the body, but is particularly useful for infections of the skin and gastrointestinal tract.
As used herein “treatment” of C. difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) includes: prophylactic treatment of those patients susceptible to CDAD; treatment at initial onset of CDAD; treatment of ongoing CDAD and treatment of relapsing CDAD in susceptible patients. One preferred method of the invention comprises treating CDAD in a patient comprising administering to the patient a therapeutically effective amount of a pharmaceutical composition comprising polystyrene sulfonate. As used herein a “therapeutically effective amount” is an amount sufficient to prevent, diminish or eradicate symptoms of disease.
The invention will now be further and specifically described by the following examples.