Listed below are our current Research initiatives:
Affinity/Binding Measures of Antigen/Antibody Interactions Using BIAcore™ (Antibody Screening)
SARS-CoV-2 Serological Assay
We are presently at work on producing, testing, and validating antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 through the use of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology. It is our aim to develop a serological assay that would supplement the existing overstressed testing apparatus, helping to determine patients’ illness and immunity status, thus allowing earlier identification of infected individuals, as well as those who have already been sick and recovered alike. This would permit a more precise tailoring of our national quarantine and isolation protocols, helping to flatten the curve, as well as grant a sense of relief to the previously infected individuals dedicated to working on the front lines to combat this virus, who may have been asymptomatic during the course of their illness. Knowledge of who possesses in their sera the requisite antibodies to produce immunity to future COVID-19 exposure can produce more effective allocation of resources, human and otherwise, in hospital settings, as well as set minds at ease, providing a sense of security for these brave individuals in these uncertain times.
Fixed Cell-Based Assays (Fixed CBAs)
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) Antibody Screen:
CIDP is an acquired autoimmune disorder that produces progressive degradation of the myelin sheath of neurons in the peripheral nervous system, leading to weakness in the extremities, numbness, and tingling. Our antibody screen for CIDP employs a fixed cell-based assay (CBA) and can detect NF140, NF155, NF186, CNTN1, and Caspr1 antibodies with high specificity. Early diagnosis is crucial to prevent axonal degeneration and permanent damage.
Live Cell-Based Assays (Live CBAs)
Live CBAs have been licensed from the Neurosciences Group, John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford University Hospitals), the original laboratory that developed these assays. Live CBAs are current gold standards and have shown excellent specificity and superior sensitivity as compared to other techniques to detect for the same antibodies.
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) autoantibodies:
- Anti-LRP4 Ab
Low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 (LRP4) is a receptor protein on the neuromuscular junction that binds with the protein agrin and is critical for NMJ formation and maintenance via MuSK activation. Autoantibodies for LRP4 have been shown to be present and causal for MG in patients found to be double seronegative for AChR Ab and MuSK Ab. Accreditation for our anti-LRP4 CBA is pending.
Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD) autoantibodies:
- Anti-MOG Ab
Anti-Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein (MOG) antibody attack causes similar inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) and/or spinal cord (transverse myelitis) as anti-Aquaporin 4 (AQP4) Abs. Damage to the myelin sheathe of neurons also can occur. MOG neuritis usually affects only one eye.
While ~65% of patients with NMOSD are positive for AQP4 antibodies, approximately ~5-10% of patients are positive for MOG antibodies. However, among the 35% of patients with NMOSD who are negative for AQP4 Abs, approximately 20% were positive for MOG.
MOG antibodies have been reported in a variety of demyelingating diseases, including multiple sclerosis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM).
CBAs for anti-MOG Abs have been demonstrated in numerous blinded studies to be the most effective, state-of-the-art means of detection for anti-MOG Abs. Accreditation for our anti-MOG Ab CBA is pending.