Researchers from UC Irvine, Stanford, and Japan’s University of Shizuoka have successfully tested the first antibody that’s actually made out of plastic. The artificial antibody injected into laboratory mice targeted melittin, the toxin found in bee venom.
From an announcement by the American Chemical Society:
The scientists mixed melittin with small molecules called monomers, and then started a chemical reaction that links those building blocks into long chains, and makes them solidify. When the plastic dots hardened, the researchers leached the poison out. That left the nanoparticles with tiny toxin-shaped craters.
The scientists gave lab mice lethal injections of melittin, which breaks open and kills cells. Animals that then immediately received an injection of the melittin-targeting plastic antibody showed a significantly higher survival rate than those that did not receive the nanoparticles.
Press release: Plastic antibody works in first tests in living animals…
Abstract in Journal of The American Chemical Society: Recognition, Neutralization, and Clearance of Target Peptides in the Bloodstream of Living Mice by Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Nanoparticles: A Plastic Antibody