Plastic antibodies pass initial test

Researchers in California have reported a first – that a plastic antibody works in the body of a living animal.

The plastic antibody, reports, is essentially an artificial version of proteins made by the body’s immune system.

Researchers told that the findings, which were published recently in the Journal of American Chemical Society, could mean a major leap towards the medical use of plastics to fight a variety of antigens, from viruses and bacteria to proteins that cause allergies.

University of California – Irvine researchers Kenneth Shea and Yu Hosino started the development of the plastic antibodies initially from work they did in an older study in which they devised a method for creating plastic nanoparticles. Those plastic nanoparticles mimicked natural antibodies in their ability to attach to melittin, one of the primary toxins in bee venom.

The plastic antibody was created by molecular imprinting. The researchers mixed melittin with monomers, which started a chemical reaction linking building blocks into long chains and turning them into a solid. When the plastic dots hardened, the researchers leached the poison out, leaving the nanoparticles with tiny toxin-shaped craters, the researchers told

The research, accompanied by separate research from the University Shizuoka in Japan, established that the plastic melittin antibodies worked like natural antibodies.

The scientists then gave laboratory mice lethal injections of melittin. Mice that received an injection of the melittin-targeting plastic antibody showed a significantly higher survival rate than those that did not, researchers said.

“Such nanoparticles could be fabricated for a variety of targets,” Shea told