A new study at KU Leuven in Belgium has enabled to design an innovative technique to help sheep produce antibodies by injecting them with DNA building blocks. Reports allege this technique is much cheaper and more effective in comparison to producing antibodies by means of an industrial method.
The recent study in animals which belong to the same size as humans has enhanced the clinical use of the antibody gene therapy.
Antibodies help in building the immune system and protects the body against foreign intruders, bacteria or viruses, among others. By means of previous research, scientists have been able to create antibodies in a lab setting, to protect the body against cancer and infectious diseases, among others. Immune therapies for instance use antibodies.
The latest research has developed a new technique which enables the body to create specific antibodies. Reports suggest, once the body is allowed to take over this process, the price of the antibody therapy will reduce drastically. In addition, the effect of the DNA injection is alleged to last longer, thus inducing patients to undertake fewer treatments. Experts therefore believe, the new technique can augment the access to costly antibody medications.
According to sources, the construction kit is injected into muscles, followed by a series of small electric shocks, equivalent to pinpricks. It is due to the shocks, that the muscle cells can take the DNA. Later, the cells use instructions from code to generate antibodies and then send these into the blood, thereafter ensuring a therapeutic effect.
“Just like other proteins, each antibody has a unique DNA code with building blocks and instructions,” commented one of the study experts. “To get this information into the body, we put the desired code in a specially developed plasmid, which is a circular string of DNA. The plasmid functions as a vehicle for the DNA code.”
Future research involves efforts in improving the technique. Scientists claim selecting the most appropriate antibodies remains a challenge.