The Laboratory of Plague Pathogenesis is led by Richard Frothingham, MD, FACP, CBSP. The Frothingham lab occupies a module within the GHRB. The lab focuses on Yersinia pestis, the bacterial cause of bubonic and pneumonic plague. The goals of the lab are: (1) to define specific protective mechanisms that are a part of the host response to plague, and (2) to use this information to develop better drugs and vaccines for plague infection.
Frothingham’s lab is currently conducting studies on the protective of polyclonal antibodies; the cytokine, IL10; the chemokine receptor, CCR5; and specific cellular growth factors. The lab has developed a polyclonal hyper-immune serum that reduces mortality from pneumonic plague at a dose of 0.3 ml/kg. The Frothingham lab has also identified a promising immune modulator that carries current FDA approval for another indication. At the standard dose used in humans, this drug reduced mortality in a pneumonic plague model from 100% to 0%.