Antibody-guided alpha radiation effectively damages fungal biofilms

L. R. Martinez, R. A. Bryan, C. Apostolidis, A. Morgenstern, A. Casadevall, E. Dadachova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The use of indwelling medical devices-pacemakers, prosthetic joints, catheters-is rapidly growing and is often complicated by infections with biofilm-forming microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial agents and host defense mechanisms. We investigated for the first time the use of microbe-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) as delivery vehicles for targeting biofilms with cytocidal radiation. MAb 18B7 (immunoglobulin G1 [IgG1]), which binds to capsular polysaccharides of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, penetrated cryptococcal biofilms, as shown by confocal microscopy. When the alpha radiation-emitter 213-Bismuth (213Bi) was attached to MAb 18B7 and the radiolabeled MAb was added to C. neoformans biofilms, there was a 50% reduction in biofilm metabolic activity. In contrast, when the IgM MAb 13F1 labeled with 213Bi was used there was no penetration of the fungal biofilm and no damage. Unlabeled 18B7, 213Bi-labeled nonspecific MAbs, and gamma and beta types of radiation did not have an effect on biofilms. The lack of efficacy of gamma and beta radiation probably reflects the radioprotective properties of polysaccharide biofilm matrix. Our results indicate that C. neoformans biofilms are susceptible to treatment with antibody-targeted alpha radiation, suggesting a novel option for the prevention or treatment of microbial biofilms on indwelling medical devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2132-2136
Number of pages5
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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