Description:
 
Background
GHB is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter and a psychoactive drug. It is a precursor to γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate in certain brain areas. GHB has been used for recreational purposes as a club drug and, in some instances, leads to drug-facilitated sexual assault. When over-dosed, GHB can cause severe cognitive dysfunction and even death. Between 1995 and 2005, in the US alone, there were 209 confirmed death cases caused by an overdose of GHB or its analogs. While this is a sizeable number, it is most likely a significant under-representation of the actual number of GHB/analog-associated deaths since routine toxicology tests used by hospitals in the US do not include detection of GHB/analogs, plus the records of only a limited number of GHB-associated death cases are accessible as public information. Currently, there is no quick and safe on-site detoxification solution available for GHB overdose except for in-hospital urgent care. This imposes health risks to the individuals who are experiencing GHB overdose and toxicity.
 
Technology Overview
Northeastern researchers have developed a detoxification method that is based primarily on two enzymes, a GHB dehydrogenase (GHBDH) and a succinate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH), which can convert GHB to succinate semialdehyde and then to the nontoxic succinate in two sequential reactions. These two sequential reactions also serve as the detoxification mechanism for GHB in the human body. While these two enzymes from the mammalian sources are difficult to obtain, some bacteria, e.g. Agrobacterium tumefaciens, also produce these two enzymes in simpler versions in terms of the protein size, the structural complexity of the enzyme, and co-factor requirements for catalytic activities, but with virtually identical activities and very similar efficacy. Research based on in vitro shows that these two bacterial recombinant enzymes demonstrated great efficacy and excellent kinetics in converting GHB to the nontoxic succinate.
 
Benefits
- This probiotic product is a cost-effective solution for GHB detoxification compared to in-hospital urgent care
- This probiotic product provides a safe and on-site detoxification solution that does not exist in the current market
- This probiotic product is easy to store in commercial locations and easy to carry personally
 
Applications
- Application as a probiotic drink in places such as night clubs and bars where incidences of recreational drug overdose could occur
- Application as a precaution solution to individuals before any potential unpurposed GHB uptake or overdose
- Application as a probiotic product to facilitate the treatment of certain GHB addictive patients for symptom alleviation
 
Opportunity
- License
- Partnering
- Research collaboration
 
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Colin Sullivan
Commercialization Consultant
Northeastern University
col.sullivan@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Yuxuan Qin
Keywords:
Biomolecules
Drugs
Medical/Health