Tuesday, September 3, 1996
During normal functioning of the human immune system, antibodies generally work outside of cells, chemically marking foreign bodies - such as bacteria or viruses - for later destruction by the host's own disease-fighting white blood cells. IntraImmune Therapies Inc. is taking the opposite approach, working from the inside out. The company's "intrabodies" function intracellularly to bind and inactivate molecules inside cells.
Recent advances in antibody engineering have allowed the manipulation of antibody genes and the reshaping of antibody molecules. Using technology developed in the laboratory of ITI founder and chief scientific advisor Wayne Marasco at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School, ITI's system uses a monoclonal antibody fragment consisting of a single amino acid chain that makes it smaller than standard antibodies. The fragment acts as a carrier of DNA coding for a therapeutic protein, as well as for different intracellular trafficking signals to direct the intrabodies to specific subcellular locations.