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Infection-Fighting Antibodies Made in Plants as Effective as Costlier Conventional Version

The first head-to-head comparison of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies produced from plants versus the same antibodies produced from mammalian cells has shown that plant-produced antibodies can fight infection equally well.

Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Arizona State University conducted the comparison as a test of the potential for treating disease in developing nations with the significantly less expensive plant-based production technique. The results are reported online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Antibodies, which are part of the immune system, bind to foreign invaders to disable them and label them for destruction. Because of their finely tuned targeting capabilities, scientists have developed ways to mass-produce a particular antibody. They have used such monoclonal antibodies in a variety of contexts.

For example, a monoclonal antibody against West Nile virus, originally developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is in clinical trials by a company that licensed the antibody from Washington University.
 
 

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