Immunity is responsible for recognition and elimination of infectious particles and for removal of cellular waste, modified self structures and transformed cells. Innate or natural immunity acts as a first line defense and is also the link to acquired immunity and memory. By using the human hybridoma technology, a series of monoclonal antibodies and several new tumor-specific targets could be identified. A striking phenomenon of immunity against malignant cells is that all so far isolated tumor-specific antibodies were germ-line coded natural IgM antibodies. And neither in animals nor in humans affinity-maturated tumor-specific IgG antibodies have been detected so far. These IgM´s preferentially bind to carbohydrate epitopes on post-transcriptionally modified surface receptors, which are recently patented and preferentially remove malignant cells by inducing apoptosis to avoid inflammatory processes. Our “biology-” or “function-driven” method represents a unique yet powerful approach compared to the typical approaches on screening compounds or antibodies against non-validated targets (mostly differentially expressed). Moreover, the approach creates a competitive patenting strategy of creating proprietary antibodies and validated targets at the same time, which has the potential of further streamlining the discovery of new cancer therapies.
Keywords: Natural IgM antibodies, cancer, autoimmunity, immune surveillance
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