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Assays & screens

Human plasmablast enrichment to identify broadly neutralizing influenza A antibodies with high frequency

A strategy to enrich human plasmablasts could be used to identify broadly neutralizing influenza A antibodies with high frequency. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from human donors vaccinated against influenza A virus were treated with an influenza A virus hemagglutinin antigen premix and transplanted into the spleens of immunodeficient mice to allow for rapid expansion and differentiation into human plasmablasts. Isolated plasmablasts bound influenza A virus variants with 150-fold higher frequency than did plasmablasts derived from untreated PBMCs. In 950 enriched plasmablasts, two broadly neutralizing mAbs were identified through the screening of only 840 cloned antibodies, whereas the previously described, broadly neutralizing mAb FI6 was identified through analysis of about 104,000 cultured human plasma cells. Next steps could include testing the antibodies in humans.
FI6 is being developed by Humabs BioMed S.A., which has licensed the product to an undisclosed pharma.

SciBX 6(31); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.833
Published online Aug. 15, 2013

Patent and licensing status undisclosed

Nakamura, G. et al. Cell Host Microbe; published online July 17, 2013;
Contact: Lee R. Swem, Genentech, South San Francisco, Calif.
Contact: Mercedesz Balazs, same affiliation as above