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Scientists report major advance in human antibody therapy against deadly Hendra virus
Date:10/19/2011

Broder, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology at USU and study corresponding author.

Earlier work at USU and NCI, supported by NIAID conducted under the direction of Dr. Broder and study co-author Dimiter S. Dimitrov, Ph.D., Sc.D., senior investigator at NCI, resulted in the discovery and development of a human monoclonal antibody, m102.4, in work carried out by Zhongyu Zhu, Ph.D. The m102.4 antibody attacks a critical component of Hendra virus and Nipah viruses and prevents their infection of cells. Antibodies proteins found in blood or other bodily fluids of vertebrates are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize viruses and bacteria.

According to study co-author Thomas W. Geisbert, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UTMB and the GNL, "We now have good evidence that this antibody could save human lives. The success of the antibody therapy against Hendra virus disease in a nonhuman primate model is a major step forward in developing it for future therapeutic use in people."

Previous work by study coauthor Barry Rockx, Ph.D., formerly of the Laboratory of Virology at the RML and now assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at UTMB, described the Hendra virus nonhuman primate model used in this study which now demonstrates that the m102.4 antibody given as late as three days following infection by Hendra virus, could still save the animals from lethal disease. Major support for the current study came from NIAID, NIH, including grant U01-AI082121 awarded to Dr. Geisbert.

Katharine Bossart, Ph.D., a USU alumna, now an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Boston University School of Medicine, led a collaborative study in Australia that provided the first evidence of the antibody's effectiveness in preventing Nipah virus mediated disease in an animal model.

"This new evidence that m102.4 is highly effective against Hendra virus in a second animal model provi
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Contact: JoAnn Sperber
jsperber@hjf.org
240-694-2163
Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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