An innovation born out of frustration can give a huge boost to laboratory research into new treatments and medicines. Researchers Martijn Verdoes, theme Nanomedicine, and Bas van der Schoot, theme Cancer development and immune defense, together with Ferenc Scheeren, Leiden University Medical Centre, developed a technique to engineer and produce antibodies quickly, easily and cheaply. "This new technique will open up the field." The researchers published their results in the open access journal Science Advances.
Antibodies play a crucial and growing role in cancer treatment, immunotherapy and diagnostics. Antibodies recognise a cancer cell or another cell very specifically. Fundamental researchers also use antibodies in their research and in the development of new therapies. At present, however, producing and engineering antibodies is a lengthy, specialized and expensive process, which is consequently carried out mainly by biotechnology companies.