In a study challenging a long-held doctrine of antibody binding -- which states that a single antibody corresponds to just one antigen, fitting it like a lock fits a key -- researchers have created a designer version of an antibody that can bind two completely different targets.
Two-in-one antibodies
Image: Allison Bruce & Jenny Bostrom
The findings, reported in this week's Science, raise the possibility that antibodies with dual specificity could occur naturally, the authors say. The results are "tremendously exciting," said Jefferson Foote, a geneticist who engineers antibodies at Arrowsmith Technologies in Seattle, Wash., and who was not involved in the study. Biochemist Germaine Fuh of Genentech, and her colleagues set out to design multi-binding antibodies, just to see if it would be possible. They started by creating a library of mutants of Herceptin, Genentech's monoclonal antibody treatment for breast cancer, which turns off the receptor protein Human...

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