Antibody builders

November 19, 2013 by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory
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.

Explore further: Novel antibodies for combating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

Related Stories

Novel antibodies for combating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

December 3, 2012
Antibodies developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are unusually effective at preventing the formation of toxic protein particles linked to Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, as well as Type ...

Study explores barriers to HIV vaccine response

September 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

October 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 ...

Antibody response linked with rejection in pediatric kidney transplant recipients

February 28, 2013
A transplanted kidney has a finite life expectancy because it often becomes the target of the recipient's immune system, which may mount antibodies that attack the organ. Because there is a critical need to extend the life ...

Monoclonal antibodies show promise as effective HIV therapy

October 30, 2013
A research team led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has demonstrated that a group of recently discovered antibodies may be a highly effective therapy for the treatment of HIV. Published on-line ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover key driver of atopic dermatitis

January 17, 2018
Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is driven by an allergic reaction. In their latest study, researchers at La Jolla Institute reveal an important player that promotes ...

Who might benefit from immunotherapy? New study suggests possible marker

January 16, 2018
While immunotherapy has made a big impact on cancer treatment, the fact remains that only about a quarter of patients respond to these treatments.

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

January 16, 2018
system, which enables these deadly skin cancers to grow and spread.

How the immune system's key organ regenerates itself

January 15, 2018
With advances in cancer immunotherapy splashing across headlines, the immune system's powerful cancer assassins—T cells—have become dinner-table conversation. But hiding in plain sight behind that "T" is the organ from ...

Immunosuppressive cells in newborns play important role in controlling inflammation in early life

January 15, 2018
New research led by The Wistar Institute, in collaboration with Sun Yat-sen University in China, has characterized the transitory presence of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in mouse and human newborns, revealing ...

Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable

January 15, 2018
More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain.

1 comment

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.