Complex infectious diseases remain a key challenge in animal husbandry despite the availability of effective veterinary medicines. Vaccines and antibiotics are commonly used, but they are only effective against specific pathogens. Stimulation of the innate immune system has been shown to provide a rapid, potent and broad protective response to infectious agents. Scientists at Bayer are exploring the potential of immunostimulants to help veterinarians and producers around the world better mitigate infectious diseases in livestock. Daniel Keil, Director of Clinical Development at Bayer HealthCare Animal Health North America, has worked together with a multi-disciplinary team of Bayer scientists to develop Immunostimulatory DNA for veterinary use. This product is based on technology developed by Juvaris BioTherapeutics and is patent protected. The Animal Health applications are being exclusively developed by Bayer Animal Health and are the subject of Bayer patent applications.
Interview: Dr. Artur Summerfield
research spoke with Dr. Artur Summerfield, professor of Veterinary Immunology at the University of Bern, about opportunities for immunostimulation in veterinary medicine.
What’s the significance of this advancement in Immunostimulatory DNA?
Immunostimulatory DNA enhances the immune system’s ability to react to microbial infection by putting the immune system into an alarm status. This can be beneficial for animals as it can potentially protect them at times when they are exposed to multiple pathogens or other stressors. Animals with stronger immune defenses are likely to withstand infections better, which could reduce antimicrobial use, lessen animal suffering and minimize economic impact.
How can immunostimulants benefit animal husbandry?
Vaccines, antimicrobial therapies and good animal husbandry practices will always be important. Immunostimulants will complement these approaches, offering veterinarians and producers an innovative non-antibiotic option that can help enhance animals’ natural defenses and reduce the infection pressure. This would benefit animals as well as consumers.
Molecular Disease Pattern
The development of immunity in response to an infection consists of two components: Acquired immunity, which protects the animals against pathogens very specifically. However, it takes 2-4 weeks for the adaptive immunity to become effective. Innate immunity is the first to recognize the presence of a pathogen and endeavors to keep it in check during the time it takes the adaptive immune system to respond to the pathogen. Therefore, the key is the timely trigger of innate immunity. "The innate immune system recognizes the typical molecular patterns of disease pathogens and tackles them immediately," explains Dr. Daniel Keil, Director of Clinical Development at Bayer HealthCare Animal Health North America. "Immunostimulatory DNA contains the same pattern as the pathogens." Keil, together with a multi-disciplinary team of Bayer scientists, successfully developed a stable and effective Immunostimulatory DNA for veterinary use. This product is based on technology developed by Juvaris BioTherapeutics and is patent protected. Animal Health applications are being exclusively developed by Bayer Animal Health and are the subject of Bayer patent applications. This innovative immunostimulant will be available in the US for use in cattle and poultry in the fall of 2015, and has the potential to change the way we approach infectious diseases in animals.