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Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

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Lankenau Institute Investigators Discover a Potential New Antibody Therapy to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Amyloid Illnesses


Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which afflicts over 5.3 million people in the United States alone, is the most common of over 25 incurable protein misfolding diseases termed amyloidoses. In a paper published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Sharad P. Adekar, MD, Scientist at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) and Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor at LIMR, have discovered a potential new antibody therapy that can be used to treat individuals suffering with AD.

Wynnewood, PA, November 09, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which afflicts over 5.3 million people in the United States alone, is the most common of over 25 incurable protein misfolding diseases termed amyloidoses. In a paper published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Sharad P. Adekar, MD, Scientist at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) and Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor at LIMR, along with colleagues from the University of Tennessee and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, have discovered a potential new antibody therapy that can be used to treat individuals suffering with AD and other amyloid illnesses.

The paper entitled: Inherent Anti-Amyloidogenic Activity of Human Ig γ Heavy Chains, examined the activity of free human Immunoglobin γ (Ig) heavy chains, which are components of immunoglobulin (antibody) proteins. The study showed that the monoclonal F1 heavy chain (HC) prevented in vitro amyloid beta fibril growth and protected rodent brain cells involved in learning and memory from the toxic effects of amyloid beta aggregates. These features may form the basis for novel therapeutics and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease and other amyloidoses, such as primary systemic amyloidosis. Additional experiments showed that amyloid binding activity is an intrinsic feature of a wide variety of isolated clonal (single) and polyclonal (multiples) Ig HCs. Thus, Ig HCs are a class of therapeutic molecules that offer a novel approach to treatment of AD, the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.

Sharad P. Adekar, MBBS, MD, completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University, with Dr. Dessain, and joined LIMR in December 2007 as a Scientist. He received his MBBS degree from the B.J. Medical College in Pune, India and received the post-graduate M.D. degree in Medical Biochemistry. In addition to this recent research, Dr. Adekar is doing essential work on the swine influenza immune response and has been called “one of the foremost researchers in the world on swine flu and influenza, due to antibody cloning methods he developed” by a CDC influenza expert.

Scott K. Dessain, MD, PhD joined LIMR in December 2007. He received his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine, his Ph.D. in Biology from Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and completed post-graduate medical training at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana Farber/Partners Cancer Care, all in Boston, MA. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA, working in the laboratory of the internationally renowned cancer biologist, Dr. Robert Weinberg. In 2000, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, where he pursued research on the cloning of human antibodies and practiced oncology with a specialty in hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation. Dr. Dessain is also involved in the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program at the Lankenau Hospital, participating in the mentoring of fellows in the clinic and in the laboratory. He is the Assistant Director of Clinical Research and a member of the Main Line Health Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Patents submitted by Dr. Dessain and Dr. Adekar have created a technology platform licensed to Immunome, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that has unique technologies for producing cloning high-affinity, biologically active Native Human Antibodies (N-huMAbs) for use as therapeutics and diagnostics. At Immunome, Inc., Dr. Adekar is the Director of Antibody Research and Dr. Dessain is the Chief Scientific Officer. Immunome is actively seeking academic and industrial partners interested in developing and commercializing human monoclonal antibodies.

About the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
Founded in 1927, the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research center located in suburban Philadelphia on the campus of the Lankenau Hospital. Part of Main Line Health, LIMR is one of the few freestanding, hospital-associated medical research centers in the nation. The faculty and staff at the Institute are dedicated to advancing an understanding of the causes of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They use this information to help improve diagnosis and treatment of these diseases as well as find ways to prevent them. They are also committed to extending the boundaries of human health and well-being through technology transfer and the training of the next generation of scientists and physicians. For more information visit our web site at www.limr.org.

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Contact Information
Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
Tava Shanchuk
484-476-3429
Contact
www.limr.org
Erin DeStefano
484-476-8144
destefanoer@mlhs.org

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