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Date:4/30/2008

In the fight against infection, the human immune system isnt ready for a war.

Vaccines push the immune system to create defenses against illness, but they take time to work. A new process developed by scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and Emory University stands to revolutionize the process.

In an advance online publication in Nature, the researchers describe a method that can identify and clone human antibodies specifically tailored to fight infections. The new technology holds the potential to quickly and effectively create new treatments for influenza and a variety of other communicable diseases.

When an infection invades, the immune system goes to work manufacturing antibodies to fight it. Most of the antibodies created will have no effect, but a very few will bond to the invader and replicate to neutralize the enemy.

The new process develops a smart bomb for the immune system, using fully human monoclonal antibodies specifically designed to fight the infection without doing any harm to the body. The work was led by OMRFs Patrick Wilson, Ph.D., and J. Donald Capra, M.D., and Emorys Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D., and Jens Wrammert, Ph.D.

In the past, it took years of work and great expense to create what are known as monoclonal antibodieslab-produced antibodies derived from a single line of cells. It was kind of the needle in a haystack approach, said OMRFs Wilson, senior author on the paper. The problem is they couldnt pick the cells that made the antibodies against the pathogens that you wanted to fight.

A second method, making hybrid antibodies from mouse B cells (white blood cells that produce infection-fighting antibodies), is faster but more dangerous. If the proteins in the hybrid antibodies werent compatible, the body could reject the antibodies or react with them in unforeseen ways.

The new process doesnt use traditional antibody derivation methods or human-mouse hybrid
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Contact: Adam Cohen
adam-cohen@omrf.org
405-271-7159
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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