Click here to hear Dawn’s interview with Radio Canada on our recent paper on the role of the microbiome in age-associated inflammtion…
We’re thrilled that our publication was featured as an editorial in Cell Host & Microbe. Read Drs Erin S. Keebaugh and William W. Ja’s excellent editorial here…..
Antibiotic treatment alone may not be sufficient to treat pneumonia in older adults. In fact, it appears as though the inflammation that comes naturally with age increases the risk of developing pneumonia. “It sounds counterintuitive to limit inflammatory responses during a bacterial infection, but clinical observations and our research indicates anti-bacterial strategies need to be tailored to the age of the patient,” said MIRC’s Associate Professor Dawn Bowdish.
Aging is accompanied by a chronic state of low-level inflammation — sometimes called ‘inflamm-aging’ — which is associated with diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and infections, particularly pneumonia. Upon recognition of an infectious agent, an acute inflammatory response is required to fight infection and resolves shortly after. However, in older adults, where systemic inflammation is already elevated, increases in inflammation during infection do not resolve as quickly. Exposure to these high levels of inflammation appears to impair the ability of monocytes and macrophages to fight infection.
Published today in the journal PLoS Pathogens, MIRC graduate Dr. Alicja Puchta & PhD student Avee Naidoo demonstrated that the higher levels of inflammation in the blood of old mice caused the premature egress of inflammatory monocytes into the blood stream, and contributed to greater systemic inflammation. Although small amounts of inflammation are required to fight infection, enhanced production of inflammation in old mice lead to reduced monocyte and macrophage function. Reducing levels of inflammation in the young mice had no effect but reducing levels in the old mice resulted in improved bacterial clearance and survival against S.pneumoniae.
The research follows a 2015 McMaster study that showed that older adults with pneumonia do better when given drugs, such as corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation in addition to antibiotics. “Our study in mice is consistent with clinical studies that recommend using anti-inflammatories as part of treatment to improve older adults’ defence against pneumonia, and that points to the development of better care,” said Bowdish.
To read the PLoS Pathogens article, please click here.
This past month has been very productive in the Bowdish laboratory, with many triumphs achieved by it’s industrious members.
Firstly, a big congratulation goes to Kyle Novakowski, the Bowdish lab’s newest PhD student. Following a lot of hard work, determination and great dedication to his Masters project, Kyle successfully passed his transfer exam on July 7 and has officially begun his
seemingly endless exciting pursuit for a PhD. Good luck to Kyle in continuing his interesting investigation on the regulation and function of MARCO!
Next up is Dessi Loukov, who is currently an undergraduate but come September will be the Bowdish lab’s 4th PhD student. At the 1st annual MIRC Perey Symposium held on June 19, Dessi impressed faculty and trainees with her educational and enthusiastic speed poster presentation on modulating the immune system to potentially reverse age-associated inflammation. Dessi was awarded a travel award as a result of her superb presentation skills. Kudos also to Fan Fei (PhD candidate) and Avee Naidoo (MSc candidate) who gave excellent speed poster talks and Dr. Chris Verschoor who gave an excellent oral presentation. Who knew that research in inflammation could be so exciting? The Bowdish lab, that’s who!
One PhD candidate who deserves great recognition for his recent successes is Mike Dorrington. Not only was Mike awarded with a prestigious and well-deserved Canadian Lung Association & Canadian Thoracic Studentship, but he additionally achieved received The Ruth and Wilson Tafts Prize for Immunology for having the best paper published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2013. Geez Mike, save some awards for the rest of us. These awards will be used to further fund his fascinating work on the role of macrophages – clearly, the best cell around – in recognition and clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae in the upper respiratory tract. Congratulations Mike!
Then, there’s Dr. Chris Verschoor, the lab’s most productive and well-rounded member. Chris’ paper entitled, “Alterations to the frequency and function of peripheral blood monocytes and associations with chronic disease in the advanced-age, frail elderly“, was recently accepted into the PLoS one. If you’re interested in changes in monocyte populations with age – I mean, who isn’t? – keep a look out for Chris’ article in the next issue of PLoS one . Way to go Chris on this well-deserved publication!
<- Manuscipt accepted = happy post-doc.
And last, but definitely not least, the lab takes great pleasure in congratulating our passionate leader, Dr. Dawn Bowdish, who has been awarded tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor effective as of July 1, 2014. This accomplishment is a fitting acknowledgement of Dawn’s exceptional work, devotion and academic contributions to research in the field of macrophage biology. In addition to her promotion and tenure, Dawn recently received a Best Teacher Award in the Department of Pathology for excellence in undergraduate teaching and graduate supervision. Well-done Dawn!
Congratulations Bowdish lab on our successes!
Way to kill it, like young macrophages on pneumo 😉
The lab of Dr. Dawn Bowdish at the McMaster University Immunology Research Centre (MIRC) has recently begun collaboration with the Vancouver-based pharmaceutical company Qu Biologics on preclinical studies investigating the role of macrophage dysfunction in chronic inflammation.
Qu Biologics has developed Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSIs), which aim to “reboot” the body’s innate immune system in targeted organs or tissues to reverse chronic inflammation.
“Macrophages are important cells of the innate immune system. There is growing evidence that macrophage dysfunction underlies many important common chronic diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disease,” said Dr. Hal Gunn, CEO of Qu Biologics. “This collaboration will be invaluable to assist in our understanding of the benefits of SSI therapy on macrophage function as it relates to chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction.” Dr. Gunn added.
The studies will test whether a lung-specific SSI therapy can restore normal lung and bone marrow-derived macrophage function using a variety of in vivo and in vitro assays.
Dr. Bowdish adds “This is an ambitious and exciting project that takes a fundamentally different approach to tackling the problem of chronic inflammation, which has been very resistant to therapeutic intervention. My team is thrilled to be working together on a problem that affects the lives of so many Canadians.” This work capitalizes on the resources and immunology expertise of the McMaster Immunology Research Centre and Dr. Bowdish’s research interests in how inflammation impairs macrophage function.
About Qu Biologics
Qu Biologics develops Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSI), a novel class of immunotherapies that aim to reboot the body’s immune system. SSIs are designed to stimulate an immune response in targeted organs or tissues to potentially reverse the chronic inflammation underlying many conditions including cancer and autoimmune disease. The company recently launched a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to research SSI therapy for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.
Backed by a prestigious group of scientific advisors and board members, Qu Biologics is led by a management team that includes co-founder and CEO Dr. Hal Gunn, a physician and expert on the body’s immune response to chronic disease; and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, former CEO of the BC Cancer Agency and a distinguished clinician, scientist and leader in cancer control in Canada and internationally. For more information, visit www.qubiologics.com and www.qucrohnstrial.com.
For more details and to see the original press release here: