Antibodies

  • Antibodies as ‘messengers’ in the nervous system

    A Ganglion in the human intestine, which shows nerval activity after giving the anti-HuD-serum. The activity is red.  (Fig.: Schemann, Michel/ TUM)

    Antibodies are able to activate human nerve cells within milliseconds and hence modify their function — that is the surprising conclusion of a study carried out at Human Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This knowledge improves our understanding of illnesses that accompany certain types of cancer, above all severe intestinal malfunctions.

  • Attacking Flu Viruses from Two Sides

    IgA1 antibodies binding to the influenza A virus antigen hemagglutinin. TSRI/UZH

    UZH researchers have discovered a new way in which certain antibodies interact with the flu virus. This previously unknown form of interaction opens up new possibilities for developing better vaccines and more efficient medication to combat the flu. Fever, shivering, headaches, and joint pains – each year millions of people around the world are affected by the flu. While most people recover after a few days, the WHO estimates that each year between 250,000 and 500,000 people die from the disease.

  • Bakterien aus dem Blut «ziehen»

    Bakterien können mit magnetischer Blutreinigung entfernt werden (links). Eine Lösung mit magnetischen Eisenpartikeln (oben rechts), kann mitt einem Magneten "gereinigt" werden (unten rechts). Empa

    Magnete statt Antibiotika, das könnte eine mögliche neue Behandlungsmethode bei Blutvergiftungen sein. Dazu wird das Blut der Patienten mit magnetischen Eisenpartikeln versetzt, die die Bakterien an sich binden, ehe sie durch Magnete aus dem Blut entfernt werden. Erste Laborversuche sind an der Empa in St. Gallen gelungen – und erfolgversprechend. Blutvergiftungen enden auch heutzutage noch in über 50% der Fälle tödlich, lassen sich aber im Anfangsstadium durchaus kurieren. Daher ist oberstes Gebot, schnell zu handeln. Aus diesem Grund verabreichen Ärzte meist schon bei einem Verdacht auf Blutvergiftung Antibiotika, ohne vorher abzuklären, ob es sich tatsächlich um eine bakterielle Sepsis handelt, was wiederum die Gefahr für Resistenzen massiv erhöht. Es gilt also, eine schnelle und effektive Therapie zu finden, möglichst ohne auf Antibiotika zurückgreifen zu müssen.

  • COPD – what causes the lungs to lose their ability to heal?

    The molecule Wnt5a prevents the repair of structures in the lung of COPD patients. Shown here are the alveolar epithelium (green) and immune cells (red). Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the patients’ lungs lose their ability to repair damages on their own. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) now have a new idea as to why this might be so. In the ‘Journal of Experimental Medicine’, they blame the molecule Wnt5a for this problem. The first indication of COPD is usually a chronic cough. As the disease progresses, the airways narrow and often pulmonary emphysema develops. This indicates irreversible expansion and damage to the alveoli, or air sacks. "The body is no longer able to repair the destroyed structures," explains Dr. Dr. Melanie Königshoff, head of the Research Unit Lung Repair and Regeneration (LRR) at the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) of Helmholtz Zentrum München. She and her team have made it their job to understand how this happens.

  • Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development

    What are they going to be? Hematopoietic stem cells under the microscope: New methods are helping the Helmholtz scientists to predict how they will develop. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Autonomous driving, automatic speech recognition, and the game Go: Deep Learning is generating more and more public awareness. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and their partners at ETH Zurich and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now used it to determine the development of hematopoietic stem cells in advance. In ‘Nature Methods’ they describe how their software predicts the future cell type based on microscopy images.

  • Fewer Laboratory Animals Thanks to Secondary Nanobodies

    Three-dimensional structure of a nanobody. Tino Pleiner and Sergei Trakhanov / MPI for Biophysical Chemistry

    Antibodies are indispensable in biological research and medical diagnostics. However, their production is time-consuming, expensive, and requires the use of many animals. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, have now developed so-called secondary nanobodies that can replace the most-used antibodies and may drastically reduce the number of animals in antibody production. This is possible because the secondary nanobodies can be produced in large scale by bacteria. Moreover, the secondary nanobodies outperform their traditional antibody counterparts in key cell-biological applications.

  • How to Track and Trace a Protein: Nanosensors Monitor Intracellular Deliveries

    Nanobodies track receptors from the cell surface to the center of the cell (the Golgi apparatus). Right: electron microscope image. Image: University of Basel, Biozentrum

    Researchers at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum have developed a method for tracing the movement of proteins within the cell. They tagged proteins with tiny nanosensors, so-called nanobodies, which enable the scientists to live track and trace the proteins' pathway through the cell. The method described in the current issue of PNAS is suitable for a wide range of research purposes.

  • Inactivate vaccines faster and more effectively using electron beams

    Fraunhofer FEP.

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, one of the leading research and development partners for electron beam applications, is developing processes and equipment based on this technology for use in medicine, pharmacology, and that conserves natural resources and protects the environment. Scientists at Fraunhofer FEP in conjunction with other partners within the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft have been conducting research for several years on employing electron-beam technology in medical engineering. Low-energy inactivation of pathogens by means of electron beams (LEEI – Low-Energy Electron Irradiation) can also be used for faster manufacture of more effective vaccines. The foundation for this has been under joint development by the Fraunhofer FEP, IZI, IPA, and IGB Institutes since 2014.

  • Is an agent used to treat psoriasis aimed at the wrong target?

    Common psoriasis, also called psoriasis vulgaris, is an inflammatory skin disease. Source Helmholtz Zentrum München

    The antibody ustekinumab is in use for treatment of psoriasis since 2009. It inhibits the underlying inflammation by neutralizing certain messengers of the immune system. Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Zurich have now shown in ‘Nature Communications’ that one of these messengers could actually be helpful in battling the illness. Common psoriasis, also called psoriasis vulgaris, is an inflammatory skin disease that is characterized by severely scaling skin in areas ranging from small to palm-sized. The disease is estimated to affect between two and three percent of all Europeans.

  • Microarray Rapid Test Speeds up Detection in Case of Legionella Pneumophila Outbreak

    First author Catharina Kober with the LegioTyper-chip. Photo: Jonas Bemetz / TUM

    In an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, finding the exact source as quickly as possible is essential to preventing further infections. To date, a detailed analysis takes days. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich have now developed a rapid test that achieves the same result in about 35 minutes. Legionella are rod-shaped bacteria that can cause life-threatening pneumonia in humans. They multiply in warm water and can be dispersed into the air via cooling towers, evaporative recooling systems and hot water systems.

  • Nanoparticles Help with Malaria Diagnosis – New Rapid Test in Development

    Fluorescent nanoparticles, excited by UV light. © Photo K. Dobberke für Fraunhofer ISC

    The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

  • On track to heal leukaemia

    From left: Dr. Carsten Riether, Dr. Christian M. Schürch and Prof. Adrian F. Ochsenbein in the laboratory  Inselspital, Bern University Hospital

    The first clinical studies for a new type of immunotherapy for leukaemia are beginning at Bern’s Inselspital, Bern University Hospital. Antibodies discovered in the laboratory should inhibit the growth of tumour cells.

    Leukaemia stem cells: they have the ability to renew themselves and are resistant to most current, existing cancer therapies (chemotherapy, radiation, targeted medications). Because the cells are responsible for the development of blood cancer, they also regulate the course of disease. The faster they multiply, the faster the illness progresses.

  • Peptides as tags in fluorescence microscopy

    Synapses of brain cells made visible using fluorescence tagging based on antibodies: pre-synapses (red) and post-synapses (green) appear out of focus; the synaptic cleft is not fully resolved. (Picture: Franziska Neubert & Sören Doose)

    Advance in biomedical imaging: The Biocenter of the University of Würzburg in close collaboration with the University of Copenhagen has developed an alternative approach to fluorescent tagging of proteins. The new probes are practicable and compatible with high-resolution microscopic procedures. Fluorescence microscopy visualizes the molecular elements of cells. Proteins of nerve cells, for instance, can be labelled using probes which are subsequently excited with light to fluoresce. In the end, the fluorescence signal is used to generate microscopic images of the real position, arrangement and number of proteins.

  • Researchers report in Nature Chemistry on cell-permeable nanobodies

    Ring peptides open the cell membrane door allowing antibodies and other therapeutic agents to enter cells. Christoph Hohmann, Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)

    Darmstadt, July 19, 2017. Scientists at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) Munich and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) have managed to introduce tiny antibodies into living cells. The researchers now report on the synthesis and applications for these nanobodies in "Nature Chemistry".

    Antibodies are one of the main weapons of our immune system. They dock to viruses, bacteria and other invaders that course through our blood, and thereby render them harmless. Antibodies also play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and in research. "One clear limitation is that due to their size and various other factors, antibodies are unable to permeate living cells," emphasises M. Cristina Cardoso, Professor of Cell Biology and Epigenetics in the Department of Biology at the TU Darmstadt.

  • Simple and Fast Method for Radiolabelling Antibodies against Breast Cancer

    Photoradiolabelling Using UV light, radiolabelled antibodies can be produced in just 15 minutes. Jason P. Holland, UZH

    Radioactive antibodies that target cancer cells are used for medical diagnostics with PET imaging or for targeted radioimmunotherapy. Researchers from the University of Zurich have created a new method for radiolabelling antibodies using UV light. In less than 15 minutes, the proteins are ready-to-use for cancer imaging or therapy. Radioactive antibodies are used in nuclear medicine as imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET) – an imaging technique that improves cancer diagnosis and monitoring of chemotherapy. Radioactive drugs can also be designed to kill tumors by delivering a radioactive payload specifically to the cancer cells. This treatment is called targeted radioimmunotherapy.

     

  • Successful antibody trial in HIV-infected individuals

    Successful collaboration: Prof Florian Klein far right in the picture  Uniklinik Köln

    A research team led by investigators of the Rockefeller University in New York and Prof Florian Klein, University Hospital Cologne and German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), has tested a new HIV neutralising antibody, called 10-1074, in humans. The results of the trial have just been published in Nature Medicine.

    Over the last years, a new generation of HIV neutralizing antibodies was identified.

  • Successfully Treating Genetically Determined Autoimmune Enteritis

    Poor to moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma of the stomach. H&E stain.

    Using targeted immunotherapy, doctors have succeeded in curing a type of autoimmune enteritis caused by a recently discovered genetic mutation. This report comes from researchers at the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel. Their results raise new possibilities for the management of diarrhea, which is often a side effect of melanoma treatment. Immunodeficiencies can arise due to gene mutations in immune system proteins. As such mutations rarely occur, these immunodeficiencies often go unrecognized or are detected too late for effective treatment. Currently, there are more than 300 different known genetically determined immunodeficiencies, with new examples being described almost every week.

  • T cells in babies give clues to who will develop type 1 diabetes

    Recently discovered special cells in babies help to understand why some children develop type 1 diabetes whereas others do not. © Stephan Wiegand

    The research group of Prof. Ezio Bonifacio, group leader and Director at the DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Cluster of Excellence at TU Dresden, and group leader at DZD-Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden, introduces a new understanding of cellular mechanisms occurring in babies having a high risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Physicians are observing an increase in the number of new cases of the disease each year among children and adolescents. In Germany, approximately 4 in every 1000 people suffer from type 1 diabetes.

  • Targeting Headaches and Tumors with Nano-submarines

    Combining a tiny drug capsule with antibodies under acidic conditions results in the antibodies attaching to the drug carrier in a stable way. This makes targeting for nanocarriers possible. Stefan Schuhmacher

    Scientists at the Mainz University Medical Center and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have developed a new method to enable miniature drug-filled nanocarriers to dock on to immune cells, which in turn attack tumors. In the future, this may lead to targeted treatment that can largely eliminate damage to healthy tissue.