Respiratory infection is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections ultimately occur in virtually all patients. It is impossible to eradicate PA when a patient has been chronically colonized. Immunotherapy with specific egg-yolk antibodies (IgY) may be an alternative to antibiotics for the prevention of PA infections. We wanted to determine if treatment with specific IgY can prolong the period between the first and the second PA colonization? And long-term, can the treatment diminish the number of positive PA cultures and postpone the onset of chronic colonization? CF patients gargled daily with an IgY-antibody preparation, purified from eggs of hens immunized with PA bacteria. They were compared to a group of patients who did not gargle with the preparation. Both groups had their first colonization with PA eradicated by antibiotics. The basic treatment was essentially the same in both groups. In the initial study, the period between the first and second colonization with PA was significantly prolonged for the treated vs. the control group (Kaplan-Meier P = 0.015, Breslow test). In the prolonged study, the treated group had only 2.5 sputum cultures positive for PA per 100 months of observation, and none of these patients became chronically colonized with PA. No adverse events were reported. In the control group, 13.7 cultures per 100 months of observation were positive for PA, and 5 (24%) patients became chronically colonized with PA. This feasibility study shows that antipseudomonal IgY has the potential to effectively prevent PA colonization without any severe adverse effects. A phase III study should be initiated.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.