Exploiting a Bovine Antibody Subset as a Trypanocide
Liam Morrison and Ivan Morrison of the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom will develop a new type of drug for treating diseases in animals and humans caused by African trypanosomes, which cause significant disease in sub-Saharan Africa. African trypanosomes evade the host immune system by varying their surface proteins, which can be recognized by conventional antibodies, precluding the development of an effective vaccine. They will exploit an unconventional antibody subtype discovered in cattle, which they hypothesize targets unvarying conserved epitopes on African trypanosomes, as a more effective treatment. They will identify specific antibody fragments that bind to trypanosomes and test whether they can eliminate the pathogen using animal models. Subsequent work will focus on identifying the target pathogen proteins of these unconventional antibodies with a view to developing a vaccine.