Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Riboflavin plus UVA irradiation: another inactivation approach to consider

by Dr. Ray Nims

Short-wavelength ultraviolet irradiation (UVC) has been used for years to disinfect air, surfaces, and thin liquid films because it is effective in inactivating a variety of bacteria, protozoa, phage, and viruses. More recently, UVC (100-280 nm) irradiation has been shown to be useful for viral risk mitigation in biologics manufacturing. UVC-treatment of culture media and other liquid reagents has been demonstrated to inactivate potential adventitious viral contaminants, including those which are resistant to inactivation by other physical means (e.g., murine minute viruscalicivirus; and porcine parvovirus and SV-40 [Wang et al., Vox Sanguinis 86: 230-238, 2004]).

Another approach that has been used recently, especially in the ophthalmologic and blood products communities, is UVA (315-400 nm) in the presence of the photosensitizer riboflavin. Riboflavin interacts with nucleic acid and photosensitizes to damage by UVA leading to direct electron transfer, production of singlet oxygen, and generation of hydrogen peroxide. The treatment results in oxidation and ring-opening of purines and in DNA strand breakage. The advantage of riboflavin over other photosensitizers (e.g., methylene blue, psoralens, etc.) is that riboflavin (vitamin B2) is an endogenous physiological substrate.

The photosensitizer interacts with nucleic acids.
Upon irradiation, the results may include cross-linking, mutation, or strand breakage.
Source: Bryant and Klein

Riboflavin/UVA treatment has been explored in ophthalmology applications such as infectious keratitis and keratomycosis. The typical treatment paradigm involves application of a solution of 0.1% riboflavin (as riboflavin-5-phosphate) followed by irradiation using 365 nm light (5 to 10 J/ml). The approach has shown effectiveness against a variety of pathogenic bacteria, including drug-resistant strains. Effectiveness against fungal pathogens requires combination therapy with amphotericin B.

In the blood products community, photosensitizer/UV treatment is being explored for pathogen reduction. For instance, riboflavin/UV treatment is being evaluated for platelet and plasma pathogen reduction, for prevention of graft versus host reactions, and for pathogen reduction in whole blood products. In the proprietary application (Mirasol PRT®), blood product pools are combined with riboflavin (final concentration 50 µM) and the solutions are irradiated with 6.24 J/ml broadband (265-370 nm) UV light. The technology has been shown to be effective for a variety of pathogenic bacteria and viruses (see Table 3 in the review by Bryant and Klein).

Will this approach be useful in the biopharma industry? It appears so. Recently, irradiation with UVA (365 nm) light in the presence of 50 µM riboflavin has been evaluated for controlled inactivation of gene transfer (adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, lentivirus) virus preparations. Complete inactivation was obtained in each case within 90 minutes.

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