Building Up The Immune System — In Plastic

Plastic AntibodiesIra Flatow reports on NPR’s Science Friday Podcast:

Researchers have made plastic nanoparticles that can partially mimic the behavior of natural antibodies in the bloodstream of a living animal. Writing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they describe their experiment, in which they treated lab mice with synthetic polymer ‘antibodies’ to the compound melittin, the main toxin in bee venom. Antibody-treated mice had higher rates of survival than non-treated mice when injected with the melittin toxin.

Image, Above Right: Plastic antibodies, such as this cluster of particles viewed under a powerful microscope, may fight a wide range of human diseases, including viral infections and allergies. Credit: Kenneth Shea.