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Yale chemist receives NIH Young Investigator Award for antibody targeting
Date:10/23/2007

New Haven, Conn. David Spiegel, assistant professor of organic chemistry at Yale, has received a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Directors New Innovator Award that will support his work designing a rational approach for using antibodies to target a wide variety of cells and disease types.

The New Innovator Awards are reserved for investigators of exceptional promise, who are just beginning their careers and have not yet received a regular research grant from the NIH. New investigators are the future of science, and innovative ideas are its lifeblood, said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D. The creative scientists we recognize are well-positioned to make significant and potentially transformative discoveries in a variety of areas.

The NIH award will fund Spiegels project titled Small-Molecule Antibody Recruiting Therapeutics for Treating Human Disease, in which he is exploring a novel approach to using antibodies that recognize a single small molecule as a universal agent for targeting and destroying many different pathogens and various types of diseased cells.

For many years, physicians and scientists have used the common small molecule dinitrophenyl (DNP) chloride in immunizations in order to generate anti-DNP antibodies as a test of the status of the immune system. Spiegel is now coupling DNP with agents that recognize pathogens like HIV or surface elements of specific cell types. He theorizes that when cells, bacteria or viruses are exposed to these compounds, they will effectively become coated with DNP, attract the anti-DNP antibodies and then be destroyed.

Scientists have found that for no apparent reason, about 20 percent of people already have DNP antibodies in their system, and it is easy and harmless to induce DNP-antibody production, said Spiegel. Our task will be to rationally design the DNP-com
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Contact: Janet Rettig Emanuel
janet.emanuel@yale.edu
203-432-2157
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

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