Monday, March 7, 2011

Building Immunity- Research for Artificial Antibodies

As you should know, antibodies are the bodies agents for seeking out pathogens, clumping them together, and signaling to the body so they can be destroyed by the immune system. Currently, the favored technique for getting new antibodies is to introduce the pathogen to an animal, and then to remove the antibody (or what created them) for further use.

Researchers at Arizona State University are pioneering a new method in which random chains of amino acids are combined to produce the artificial antibodies. The wondrous thing about this new method is that even when combined at random, the amino acids come together to produce something that can bind to a few proteins. After created, the "antibodies" are checked for matches with many, many proteins so scientists can find out what they might be the antibody to.

The advantages of this method are related mainly to saving time and money. This method is much easier (and humane) than waiting for a disease-infected monkey to create antibodies, and then stealing away the monkey's hard earned defenses through a needle, and it saves costs such as Mr. Banana's food and board. Obviously this method can't be used to easily create an antibody to anything that scientists want to fight, but with its low cost and easiness, this method should allow many new antibodies to be found.

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