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Protozoan diseases Projects

Development of new tools to control infections due to parasites of the Trypanosomatidae family

EC contribution
: € 2.714.608
: 48 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2009
Funding scheme
:SICA: Collaborative Project
Contract/Grant agreement number
: 223048
Project web-site
: To be defined

Keywords: Trypanosomiasis, Sleeping Sickness, Nanobody, Diagnostics, Drug-targeting


Antibody-based nanobody (Nb) technology has been developed at VIB, based on the discovery that natural heavy chain antibodies can be used for the engineering of very small nanometre-seized antibody fragments, that are characterized by: (i) their unique epitope recognition potential, (ii) their ease of production with recombinant expression as opposed to hybridoma production, (iii) the ease of selection by affinity panning, following in vivo affinity maturation, (iv) their improved stability when compared to conventional antibodies. In 2006, the accumulated Nb knowledge and technology culminated in the development of an experimental drug delivery method for trypanosomiasis (Baral et al. Nature Med. 2006 12(5):580-4). In addition, VIB also reported the use of nanobody tools for parasite detection in experimental trypanosomiasis in mice (Stijlemans et al. Biol Chem. 2004 279(2):1256-61). Building on these achievements, the project objectives of NANOTRYP are to (i) generate of a number of Nb libraries that are capable of recognizing all four major African trypanosome species, (ii) use these libraries for construction and testing of new trypanosomiasis diagnostic tools, and (iii) assess of the use of anti-trypanosome Nbs for drug targeting.
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