Washington, Dec 29 (IANS) Researchers from Yale University have crafted the first synthetic molecules that have both the targeting and response functions of human antibodies.
The new molecules called synthetic antibody mimics (SyAMs) attach themselves simultaneously to disease cells and disease-fighting cells.
The result is a highly targeted immune response, similar to the action of natural human antibodies.
“Unlike antibodies, however, our molecules are synthetic organic compounds that are approximately one-20th the size of antibodies,” said David A. Spiegel, professor of chemistry at Yale University.
They are unlikely to cause unwanted immune reactions due to their structure, are thermally stable, and have the potential to be administered orally, just like traditional, small-molecule drugs, he said.
Beyond their potential for treating prostate cancer, SyAMs may have applications for treating other forms of cancer, HIV and various bacterial diseases.
“It is also noteworthy that molecules of such a small size can bring together two objects as enormous as cells and trigger a specific functional response, entirely as a result of specific receptor interactions,” Spiegel said.
The paper was published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.