Current Status: M3
Graduate Department: Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
Other Degrees: Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology;
Hometown: Saitama City, Japan/Ridgewood, NJ/Singapore/Alpharetta, GA
Ancient Lamprey VLR Antibodies as Tumor Diagnostic and in vivo Tumor Targeting Reagents
In contrast to the immunoglobulin-based T and B cell receptors that our lymphocytes use for antigen recognition, lymphocytes in jawless vertebrates (lamprey and hagfish) generate genes for variable lymphocyte receptors (VLR) through random combinatorial assembly of modular leucine-rich repeat sequences. Each lymphocyte expresses a unique VLR to create a clonally diverse repertoire comparable to the mammalian antibody repertoire. The ability of immunized lampreys to produce soluble, circulating antigen-specific VLR has been harnessed to produce monoclonal VLR antibodies to various antigens. The structural features of the antigen-binding site, evolutionary origin, and physical properties of monoclonal VLR suggest their advantages over conventional monoclonal antibodies in several biomedical applications. We hypothesize that anti-tumor monoclonal VLR and their engineered derivatives will be useful reagents for tumor antigen discovery, cancer diagnostics, in vivo imaging, and anti-tumor therapy. The overall goal of my thesis project is to demonstrate the utility of tumor targeting VLR reagents in a mouse leukemia model, which may be adapted for future clinical use in the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of human cancers.
For those that are interested, here is an excellent review published by our lab summarizing our current knowledge of the jawless vertebrate adaptive immune system: Herrin, B.R. and M.D. Cooper "Alternative adaptive immunity in jawless vertebrates." J Immunol, 2010. 185(3): p. 1367-74. Pubmed Link