New strategy to fight Botulinum toxin molecules announced

A new strategy for clearing Botulinum toxin molecules - one of the world's deadliest substances - has been developed by a team from Tufts University.

The new strategy could potentially lead to strategies that are more efficient against toxins that can be used during a bioterrorist event.

The strategy works by delivering small binding agents that will seek out the Botulinum toxin molecules and then bind to them at several points. A common "tag" is contained within the binding agents that is recognized by a single, co-administered anti-tag antibody.

The Botulinum toxin molecule is then surround by bound antibodies, which flush the toxin out of the system by way of the liver before the body can be poisoned.

“We’ve proven this approach to protect against Botulinum intoxication in mice and we hope this will lead to rapid development and deployment of many new anti-toxin therapies—for botulism and beyond,” Charles B. Shoemaker, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the study’s corresponding author, told

The strategy also allows for the creation of new binding agents rather than antibodies, allowing for new therapies to combat other toxins, including ricin.