Vanderbilt U & Purdue Translational Breakthrough Identifies Monoclonal Antibody Capable of Preventing Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Jul 7, 2020 | Acute Flaccid Myelitis, Infectious Disease, Investor Watch, News

Vanderbilt U & Purdue Translational Breakthrough Identifies Monoclonal Antibody Capable of Preventing Acute Flaccid Myelitis

A team of researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have isolated potential human monoclonal antibodies potentially capable of preventing acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare but devastating polio-like illness in children linked to a respiratory viral infection called acute flaccid myelitis.

What is Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)?

This is a rare disease afflicting about 600 kids; since identified, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first started tracking the disease in 2014. Known to cause sudden weakness in the arms and legs following a fever or respiratory illness, there is no specific treatment for AFM, which tends to strike in the late summer or early fall and which has been associated with some deaths.

What viral infection is the disease linked to?

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

How was EV-D68 isolated?

Researchers at Vanderbilt Vaccine Center isolated antibody-producing blood cells from the blood of children and who had previously been infected by EV-D68.

How was the panel of monoclonal antibodies developed?

Once the antibodies were identified, the researchers fused the blood cells to fast-growing myeloma cells to generate a panel of monoclonal antibodies that potentially neutralized the virus in laboratory studies.

What were the findings?

Researchers from Purdue determined the structure of the antibodies, which guided how they specifically bind to EV-D68.  In preclinical animal research, they found that one of the antibodies protected mice from respiratory and neurologic disease when given either before or after infection by the enterovirus. The breakthrough suggest that these antibodies could possibly prevent E-D68 infection and AFM in humans.

These findings were published by Friday July 3 in the Journal Science Immunology

Translational Implications: will these findings form the basis of clinical trials?

Yes more than likely, reported Dr. James Crowe, director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Center and Richard Kuhn, Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science; Krenicki Family Director, Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease.

How was the research financed?

National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants (HL069765, Al117905, HL070831,AI104317 and AI011219) as well as the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases.

Purdue University Profile

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers and is one of the largest comprehensive research, teaching and patient care health systems in the Southeast. The most heavily utilized quaternary, referral healthcare facility in the Mid-South, VUMC’s sees over 2.3 million patient visits per year in over 150 locations, discharging 66,000 inpatients and performing 67,000 surgical operations. The medical center is the largest non-governmental employer of Middle Tennessee citizens, with more than 25,000 staff, 2,000 of which are physicians, advanced practice nurses and scientists appointed to the Vanderbilt University faculty.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. James Crowe, director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, Ann Scott Carell Chair and professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Richard Kuhn, Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science; Krenicki Family Director, Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease.

Note, several others researchers were involved and can be identified at the source

Call to Action: Interested in reading more about this breakthrough? Contact Steve Tally for a copy of the abstract. This translational research can lead to clinical research and therapy for FDA orphan indication. Interested in learning more? Contact Richard Kuhn at kuhnr@purdue.edu or Dr. James Crowe at james.crowe@vumc.org,

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