Synthetic Peptide Inhibitors for the Treatment of Infectious Disease

Novel Aerosolized Therapy for Treating Tuberculosis

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services have developed and patented a novel treatment for patients infected with pathogenic bacterial infection or granulomatous disease using synthetic peptide-based inhibitors which reduces persistent infection by more than 90%.


Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that typically affects the lungs. Current chemotherapy for tuberculosis (TB) fails to rapidly eliminate the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli and to control TB globally. These therapies include a panel of antibiotics given over a range of 6-9 months. As a result of the expense of the treatment, the extended timeframe needed for effective treatment, and the scarcity of medicines in some developing countries, patient compliance with TB treatment is very low and results in multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). For TB patients with MDR-TB infections, treatment lasts for two years and is unsuccessful in more than 50% of cases.  To improve TB control globally, shorter, effective, and well-tolerated treatments for latent TB infection is desired as this is the only way to reduce the development of resistance against the new chemical entities.


Short, metabolically stable, cell-penetrating lipopeptide mimics of conserved regions of IL-10 and STAT3 inhibit those proteins’ signaling to become a host-directed therapy against TB. Intrapulmonary aerosol delivery of the peptides results in increased bactericidal capacity of the host immune system (e.g., increased nitric oxide, NADPH oxidase, lysozyme activities).

The inventors have shown that the inhibitors can reduce the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacterial load by more than 90% in mice, without the use of antibiotics, and in only two weeks. The inhibitors modulate the host’s lung immune response, enhancing its bactericidal capacity. The inventors would be pleased to enter into collaborations, particularly those that explore efficacy against multi-drug resistant Mtb, and/or combination with traditional antibiotics in hopes of shortening treatment time.


  • Can address chronic infections that induce immune-privilege.
  • Faster, more effective TB treatment when combined with traditional treatments.


  • TB therapy in combination with current standard chemotherapies
  • Activation of immune system against immune-privileged infections.
  • Anti-tuberculosis treatment
Last Updated: January 2024
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Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero
Nadya I. Tarasova

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