Lamellar bodies are an established integral yet underexplored area of biology. Certain of their characteristics, based upon their bespoke biological roles, creates previously unforeseen potential for a raft of critical areas of health. From diseases of the lung, progressive fibrosis, to the fight against antibiotic resistance or a new wave of treatments for rare and serious diseases, the unique action of lamellar bodies, utilized through mimics, has the potential to be catalytic to a range of important new medical products.
What are Lamellar Bodies?
Lamellar Bodies are vesicles that exist in the lung, skin and all serous tissues and are fundamentally different in form, function and location from the well-defined lamellar bodies that transport surfactant to the alveoli in the lung. Non-alveolar lamellar bodies have been shown to protect tissues from infection, fibrosis, aid moisturization and manage surface tensions. These properties and recent research show considerable potential for engineering lamellar body mimics for therapeutic development, including novel antibiotics and the prevention of progressive fibrosis.
Why mimic Lamellar Bodies?
Bespoke mimics can be manufactured to specifically replicate the protective effects of native lamellar bodies to treat a range of human pathologies. Using certain attributes of lamellar bodies these substances can limit inflammatory responses, disrupt progressive fibrosis, assist in the removal of mucus, protect host surfaces from bacterial colonization, tackle bacterial biofilm and supplement damaged lipid layers as encountered in dry eye.
Like so many areas of medicine in history, from an initial starting point the full potential for lamellar bodies is becoming apparent. Through varying their components, changing their physical characteristics and finding additive properties with other active agents e.g. antibiotics, one can unearth synergistic and powerful effects for a variety of therapeutic purposes.
Owing to their similarities to native human lamellar bodies, the immune system recognizes correctly created mimics as ‘self’ avoiding any significant safety or tolerability issues.
Utilising the properties, outlined above, provides the capacity to develop a range of platform technologies incorporating multiple products for distinct therapeutic areas, including:
Fibrosis is the normal process of scar formation used to repair damaged tissue. However, on occasion scar formation is “irregular”, progressive or laid down where there are functional consequences. This leads to well defined pathological conditions such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cardiac fibrosis. Correctly designed mimics of Lamellar Bodies have the potential to disrupt irregular progression fibrosis.
The WHO has produced a global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that remain inadequately treated due to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MRSA. This has created an enormous healthcare burden including the threat to a range of medical interventions such as surgical operations, immunotherapy and the treatment of cancers. Certain biophysical attributes of mimics of lamellar bodies can add considerable new weapons to this battle. Lamellar bodies can form the first line of defence where their purposely designed formulated surface tension can interrupt the ability of bacteria to attach to a host or surface by interfering with their ability to use Van der Waals forces, electrostatic interactions and irregular surfaces to aid their adherence. Post-colonisation, lamellar bodies have a proven ability to disrupt bacterial biofilm and interfere with the bacterial communication system used to reform this protective material. Thus exposed, lamellar bodies applied with an appropriate antimicrobial can resolve bacterial infection/colonization. All of this creates a platform to improve the potency of antimicrobials (established and novel) and compromise the ability of an infection to become established and develop AMR.
The original basis for exploring the use of mimics of lamellar bodies was based on their potential to adjust altered mucus or faulty lipid membranes that lead to given disease states. For instance, the viscous mucus in the lungs of Cystic Fibrosis sufferers overwhelms the innate mucociliary clearance mechanism providing the ideal environment for bacterial colonisation and infection leading to chronic inflammation, and irreversible remodelling of the lung and early death. Again, optimizing the biophysics of lamellar body mimics creates the potential to alter the viscoelastic properties of CF mucus facilitating its clearance from the lung through the cough mechanism and/or by re-establishing the mucociliary mechanism.
From an unexplored and unrecognised system that has been underrepresented in the literature, the highly unusual biophysical characteristics of lamellar bodies have opened a door to the potential for a wide range of novel medical treatments. Variant mimics of these natural vesicles provide a means of harnessing this potential. These products are made all the more exciting by their proven excellent safety and tolerability profile.
LAMELLASOME™ are a proprietary form of lamellar body mimics that are being engineered to create platform technologies for a variety of medical applications.