Infectious Disease Platform Technologies
This program is focused on producing therapeutic fully human polyclonal antibodies for a variety of infectious disease applications. This program was initially funded by a 3-year grant from The U.S. Department of Defense ("DARPA"), with the project goal being the development of genetically modified animals capable of producing fully human antibodies for us as prophylactic countermeasures to biowarfare pathogens (i.e. Anthrax, Ebola, and Smallpox). Other potential applications of these pigs include animal models for use in testing and developing vaccines.
Using our platform in gene targeting and pig cloning technology, the goal is to inactivate or knockout the pig immunoglobulin (Ig) or antibody coding genes (heavy and light chain genes), and subsequently introduce the human antibody-producing genes into these Ig knock-out animals, resulting in the production of transgenic pigs which have had their pig Ig genes replaced with their human equivalents. The cloning technology then provides the tool to create large herds of animals that will be capable of producing fully human polyclonal antibodies. These genetically modified animals, when challenged with an infectious disease agent (i.e. Anthrax) will be able to produce large volumes of human polyclonal antibody against that agent in their blood. Thousands of therapeutic doses can be obtained from a single animal, capable of protecting soldiers in the field or civilians exposed in a bioterrorist attack. This technology has broad reaching applications in treating human disease including influenza, H1N1, hepatitis, HIV, CMV, antibiotic-resistant infections, cancer, and autoimmune disease.
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