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PNNL, MIT Build Library of One Billion Antibodies

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 22 - Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said this week that they have developed a library of one billion human antibodies on brewer's yeast.


The antibodies were extracted by scientists at PNNL using high-speed flow cytometers to sort cells, and then expressed on the surface of yeast cells using a platform designed by Dane Wittrup, a researcher at MIT.


PNNL researchers said the method of generating the antibody library offered an alternative to producing antibodies in live animals. The library also allowed modification of antibody bonding affinities to proteins, said researchers.


"Regulated expression of these antibodies allows the library to be expanded while maintaining its diversity," Michael Feldhaus, a researcher at PNNL, said in a statement. "Furthermore, our unique identification process means we can screen for antibodies in days rather than the months it may take using other approaches."


The library will be available for free to scientists at universities and US government agencies, but because of patent issues, it will not be accessible to private industry, said a PNNL spokesperson.


The work appears in the February issue of Nature Biotechnology.


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