Researchers design ’smart bomb’ to fight infections

May 1st, 2008 - 12:23 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 1(IANS) Medical scientists have developed “smart bomb” technology to fight infections more effectively and quickly, sans side effects. The technology can create new treatments for influenza and other communicable diseases, even anthrax and small pox - though the last one has been eradicated.

Dumping traditional methods, researchers have isolated antibody-secreting cells, or plasma cells, from people vaccinated for influenza, and then cloned antibody genes from these cells.

“We can recognise which cells are made and then make antibodies from them directly,” said Patrick Wilson of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. “It is a rapid and efficient way to make fully human antibodies.”

Under the existing process, described as the “needle in a haystack approach”, human antibodies are tailored from a single line of cells at great cost and effort.

The labs could not pick the cells that made the antibodies against the pathogens that are to be fought.

Yet another method, making hybrid antibodies from white blood cells that produce antibodies, is faster but more dangerous. If the proteins in the hybrid variants weren’t compatible, the body could reject the antibodies or react in unforeseen ways.

“Vaccines (too) can activate the immune system, but they need time to take effect, and many offer less than 100 percent protection and carry risks of side effects,” said Prescott.

Findings of the study have been published in the online publication of the journal Nature.

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