Antibody builders

by Jared Sagoff
Argonne biologist Rosemarie Wilton works on ways to stabilize antibodies, which tend to degrade over time.

Antibodies are often the first line of defense against the body's invaders.  Built to recognize and attack foreign bacteria and viruses, antibody molecules are released by cells to do battle with microbial hostiles as part of the body's natural immune response.

Because are naturally so good at recognizing a host of different pathogens, Argonne biologist Rosemarie Wilton has spent much of her career working to better stabilize antibodies and prevent them from degrading over time.

In one possible scenario Wilton described, a soldier might want to use antibodies to detect any in the environment.  However, in the high temperatures of the field environment, antibodies tend to degrade. Wilton and her colleagues have developed several methods to prolong the of antibodies.

Wilton and her colleagues at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials have also begun to explore combining antibodies with inorganic nanoparticles that can selectively attack and destroy cancer cells. 

In a third study—funded by the National Institutes of Health—Wilton and a collaborator at the University of Cincinnati are testing antibodies to prevent relapse in addicts.  "By using antibodies, we're able to prevent addicts from getting high even if they happen to relapse and use cocaine, which hopefully makes it easier for them to kick the habit in the future," Wilton said. "The antibody binds to the cocaine molecule and prevents it from acting in the brain."

The anti-cocaine antibody study is especially promising because that particular antibody has a relatively long half-life—about three weeks, Wilton said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study explores barriers to HIV vaccine response

Sep 20, 2013

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) discovered that an antibody that binds and neutralizes HIV likely also targets the body's own "self" proteins. This finding could complicate the development of HIV vaccines ...

New artificial protein mimics a part of the HIV outer coat

Oct 22, 2013

A team of scientists at Duke Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has created an artificial protein coupled with a sugar molecule that mimics a key site on the outer coat of HIV where antibodies can bind to ...

The hitchhiker antigen: Cause for concern?

Oct 23, 2013

Since antibodies first attained prominence as research reagents in modern biological science labs, researchers have been perplexed as to why one production lot can differ significantly from the next, in terms of performance. ...

Recommended for you

Could trophoblasts be the immune cells of pregnancy?

18 hours ago

Trophoblasts, cells that form an outer layer around a fertilized egg and develop into the major part of the placenta, have now been shown to respond to inflammatory danger signals, researchers from Norwegian University of ...

Moms of food-allergic kids need dietician's support

Dec 18, 2014

Discovering your child has a severe food allergy can be a terrible shock. Even more stressful can be determining what foods your child can and cannot eat, and constructing a new diet which might eliminate entire categories ...

Multiple allergic reactions traced to single protein

Dec 17, 2014

Johns Hopkins and University of Alberta researchers have identified a single protein as the root of painful and dangerous allergic reactions to a range of medications and other substances. If a new drug can ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

210
1 / 5 (5) Nov 19, 2013
DO ya think Rob Ford, would like to give that anti-cocaine antibody a shot....now...after all? Yes, I know the horse has already left the barn, but, just seeing a grand opportunity to test a potential cure, a REALLY grand opportunity! Science could use the publicity and all.
word-

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.