We focus on the discovery and development of potential therapeutic monoclonal antibodies directed specifically to disease causing proteins. These potential therapies have a broad range of indications including AL and AA forms of amyloidosis, Parkinson’s disease and related synucleinopathies, and novel cell adhesion targets involved in inflammatory disease and metastatic cancers. Our strategy is to apply our extensive expertise in generating novel therapeutic antibodies and work with collaborators having expertise in specific animal models of disease, to identify antibody candidates for clinical development
An epitope is the molecular target recognized by an antibody. A neo-epitope is a site on a protein that becomes accessible only after modification, such as from cleavage or by misfolding into an abnormal shape. The neo-epitopes we target may occur as part of a disease-associated pathological process. We are developing novel, specific monoclonal antibodies against neo-epitope targets for the potential treatment of patients having a disease associated with the neo-epitope.
Targeting Neo-epitopes of Misfolded Proteins Associated with Disease
In addition to antibodies directed to neo-epitope targets, we are developing antibodies directed to other disease causing targets. For example, we have generated antibodies against novel cell adhesion targets expressed on certain pathogenic immune cells (TH17 cells) and on tumor cells. One specific cell adhesion protein, called MCAM (“melanoma cell adhesion molecule”), interacts with another protein called laminin near blood vessel walls which allows circulating tumor cells and a critical subset of T cells to leave the bloodstream and enter into tissues, sometimes initiating pathogenic processes that result in disease. Antibodies that interfere with the cell adhesion process may be useful for treating a range of inflammatory diseases and metastatic cancers.
Targeting Cell Adhesion Involved in Disease Processes