The Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
Association: Resident Faculty
Other Appointment:Director CHAT
Awards and Honors
NIH study sections
September 2008 - Ad hoc member, study section RFA-AI-08-001 U01 Immunotherapeutics, NIAID, NIH
The immune system provides constant surveillance to protect against infectious diseases, toxin exposures, and cancers. Part of the immune response is in the form of antibodies that are produced by B-cells. Through highly specific interactions, antibodies can neutralize infectious entities and possibly help combat tumor cells. Many technologies exist to clone human antibodies. Our primary interest is in “native” human antibodies, those cloned and expressed in exactly the configuration created by the intact human immune system. Native human antibodies have the potential advantages of high affinity, minimal off-target binding, safety, and effectiveness.
Our group has developed a highly effective method to clone native human antibodies, using only small amounts of blood that can be obtained by a normal blood draw from volunteers. In our method, we isolate B-cells from peripheral blood and convert them to hybrid cells that can be grown in culture, each expressing a single, unique antibody. Similar methods have been developed by others, but our method is very effective because of a unique fusion cell line that allows the high efficiency creation of stable hybrid cells, combined with a unique B-cell selection/expansion step. Thus far, we have produced antibodies reactive with botulinum neurotoxin, which can be used to treat food poisoning or counteract an act of bio-terrorism. We are also creating antibodies that may be potent therapeutics for other infectious diseases, neurological disease and cancer.
Many laboratories have limited ability to generate their own human antibodies. In order to collaborate in cloning human antibodies with other investigators, we have established the LIMR-Center For Human Antibody Technology. The LIMR-CHAT currently has collaborations underway with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Salus University, Temple University, and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. We are actively seeking additional academic collaborations.
The human monoclonal antibody technology has been licensed to a start-up company, Immunome, Inc., which is located at the Incubator facility of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research and is affiliated with the 611 Keystone Innovation Zone of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Immunome, Inc. can provide antibody cloning services on a commercial basis to industrial customers and/or collaborators.