Monoclonal antibodies are recently being developed and used in increasing frequency to target diseases.
Antibodies are naturally produced toolf of the immune system that can bind to foreign proteins leasing to an inflammatory response that rids the body of invaders.
They is used in medicine to treat diseases. Antibodies are generally created to target proteins found on the surface of cells. They attach to the cells and eliminate them.
However many proteins which are deleterious to health, and in fact implicated in the aging process reside within cells.
In new groundbreaking research, scientists have demonstrated for the first time the ability to remove cells using an antibody that targets proteins buried deep inside the cell.
In the study, antibodies called ESK1 were generated against an intracellular protein called WT1. This particular protein was chosen as a target is because it is highly expressed in a broad range of cancer cells. It is not found in normal cells so targeting and eliminating WT1 containing cells would be a potentially important treatment for cancer.
Furthermore scientist have not been successful at creating a small molecules to inhibit WT1 function so a new technique has to be developed.
To pull this off, the researchers engineered EKS1 to mimic a T cell receptor. Normally T cell receptors can recognize intracellular antigens as bits of them are cleaved and brought to the surface via the HLA system.
The study confirmed that ESK1 was able to successfully recognize and eliminate WT1 containing cells both in culture and in mice.
This research may turn out to be crucial not only for eliminating cancer, but for reducing aging as well.
Prior work at the Mayo Clinic has shown that removing p16-containing senescent cells using a complex genetic technique reduced signs of aging in engineered mice. p16 is an intracellular antigen only expressed in senescent cells, with are believed toxic to neighboring healthy cells contributing to aging and disease.
Thus creating a p16 antibody using this technique could quickly and easily lead to a safe effective treatment that reduces aging in humans