New Antibody Targets HIV Glycoprotein at Different Conformations

Glycoprotein Caltech has discovered a broadly neutralizing antibody (bNAb) that can bind to both partially open and closed conformation of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Typically bNAbs only target the HIV-1 envelope in a closed conformation, which prevents binding activity when the envelope changes to an open conformation. Caltech used crystal electron microscopy to identify complexes with 8ANC195 forming in both open and closed conformations. For bNAbs like 8ANC195 with the ability to bind to different glycoprotein conformations, neutralizing the virus has become more effective and will help further development of HIV vaccine research.



Humanized Monoclonal Antibody Against Clostridium Difficile Finishes Phase 3 Clinical Studies

C. Diff Bezlotoxumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody created by Merck and the University of Massachusetts medical school (UMMS) MassBiologics, has finished phase 3 clinical studies. This humanized monoclonal antibody targets C. difficile toxin B, a toxin that causes inflammation of the intestinal wall leading to C. difficiles enteritis. C. difficile is a recurrent and often deadly infection for elderly patients. Fortunately, phase 3 clinical studies showed a considerable drop in recurrence of C. diff infection over a 12 week period. The application for marketing of the antibody will be submitted to the FDA by the end of 2015.


The Study of a Human Endogenous Retrovirus May Reveal a New Understanding of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

A new study could lead to a greater pathological understanding of ALS. There are many sequences for retroviral proteins in the human genome which are silent, but under certain pathological conditions these retroviral proteins can be expressed. In this recent study, researchers used CRISPR to active the gene for HERV-K in mice that resulted in expression of ALS-like symptoms. Furthermore, brain tissue of deceased ALS patients showed high levels of HERV-K which were not present in healthy individuals. The implications of this study present a significant contribution to the potential role of endogenous retroviruses in neurological disease. 


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