Although rare, Clostridium septicum causes gas gangrene, an extremely fatal disease that results from the infection and extensive destruction of muscle tissue by exotoxins, typically seen in settings of trauma, surgery, malignancy, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, skin infections/burns, and septic abortions. The mortality rate is approximately 79% in adults, typically occurring within 48 hours of infection.
C. septicum produces four toxins; alpha (causes hemolysis and necrosis), beta (DNAse), gamma (hyaluronidase) and delta (thiol-activated septicolysin). C. septicum alpha toxin (48 kDa) is both lethal and hemolytic. Mice immunized with alpha-toxin are reported to have significantly increased survival time over mock-immunized mice when challenged with C. septicum.
The Gut Check Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity, was started in 2009 after the founders lost their 19-year-old son to C. septicum. In 2014, they became members of the National Organization of Rare Disorders. Operating entirely with a volunteer force, every dollar for the Gut Check Foundation is another dollar for education, research, and prevention of the rare disease. List Labs is honored to be teaming up with the Gut Check Foundation in their fight to save lives from C. septicum.
More information about our development of C. septicum alpha toxin can be found on our blog.