Antibodies bind to foreign proteins, and can be highly specific for a small part of that protein (the antigen). Antibodies play a crucial role in our immune system’s ability to recognise and fight infections.
The specificity of antibodies makes them an invaluable tool for medical research. Medical researchers use antibodies to help answer fundamental biological questions, for example understanding how specific proteins behave, and to assist in developing new therapies. Antibody-based drugs are in clinical use for diseases including cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
WEHI has a dedicated Antibody Facility for developing and producing antibody products and supporting antibody-based research. This access to bespoke antibody services enables researchers to advance their projects more rapidly, while expertise from the facility’s experienced team assists in optimising experimental design.
Our researchers utilise antibodies in several ways, including:
Monoclonal antibodies underpin some of the most commonly used therapeutics for cancer, immune disorders and inflammatory conditions. Monoclonal antibodies can be generated to bind to one specific part of a protein, making them powerful tools for diagnostics and biomedical research.
For researchers with a particular protein of interest, antibodies can be developed that enable the researcher to study the protein in vivo, in vitro, on cell surfaces or within cells. Being able to detect the presence – or amount – of a protein of interest can assist the development of diagnostic tests for certain diseases.
Nanobodies are laboratory-made antibody fragments from camelids or cartilaginous fish that consist of a single heavy chain variable domain. Nanobodies are of interest as both therapeutics and research tools due to their small size, high antigen-binding affinity and their increased stability across temperature and pH range.
To generate nanobodies, our researchers immunise alpacas with a target protein. Nanobody genes from isolated plasma cells of the immunised alpaca are then cloned to produce a nanobody library. Using this library, researchers perform rounds of screening to obtain target-specific nanobodies. The resulting nanobodies are expressed in bacterial systems.
To inquire about nanobody research platforms please contact Professor Wai-Hong Tham.
The WEHI Antibody Facility provides antibody services to academic researchers and commercial clients.
Established in 1991 the facility is staffed by an experienced and multidisciplinary team who work collaboratively with researchers, providing expert advice and versatility in experimental design. The team can develop monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to novel targets, and adapt and refine protocols to suit researcher requirements.