March 2010

Two New Publications from FASEB

 

Breakthroughs-Cover---WashupThe Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology is pleased to announce the release of the publication “Magic Bullets and Monoclonals: An Antibody Tale,” the latest article in its Breakthroughs in Bioscience series. The series is a collection of illustrated articles that explain recent developments in basic biomedical research and how they are important to society.

The antibody article describes the century of fundamental immunology research that led to today’s cutting-edge monoclonal antibody therapies used to treat millions of patients for several types of cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and infectious disease. After the late 19th-century discovery that mysterious substances in the blood could be exploited to provide protection against disease through immunization, scientists spent decades piecing together the details of antibody structure and function. All over the world, researchers made breakthrough findings in immunology, racing to discover how antibodies developed the exquisite specificity that allows them to defend the body against a host of diseases. From guinea pigs to papaya enzymes to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the quest to uncover the secrets of antibodies led down some extraordinary avenues of science. In a surprising twist, it was a failed experiment using myeloma tumor cells and the serendipitous development of cell fusion that ultimately resulted in the system used to produce monoclonal antibodies—very pure antibodies that bind to  singular, specific targets. Soon, researchers realized that monoclonal antibodies opened up new pathways to study and attack specific diseases, and there are now more than 20 monoclonal antibody-based drugs on the market, including several blockbusters.

For more information

Hard copies may also be requested by contacting the FASEB Office of Public Affairs at (301) 634-7650.

FASEB welcomes topic idea contributions for both series. Please send suggestions, with brief descriptions.

Horizons in Bioscience

FASEB also has launched a new series, called Horizons in Bioscience, which provides educational, one-page articles that highlight cutting-edge scientific research on the brink of clinical application and describe the pathways of discovery leading to the current developments. The first article in the series, “How Biomedical Research Provides Fertility Hope to Cancer Survivors,” discusses the latest findings in oncofertility— the preservation of a woman’s fertility after cancer treatment— and outlines some of the historic scientific achievements in fertility treatment, from in vitro fertilization to cryopreservation.

Horizons in Bioscience is intended to supplement FASEB’s existing Breakthroughs in Bioscience series. Whereas Breakthroughs in Bioscience examines treatments currently in use by millions of patients and tells the stories of the science that underlies those clinical advancements, Horizons in Bioscience provides the opportunity to explore exciting areas of science in the very early stages of clinical research and use.

Carrie D. Wolinetz (cwolinetz@faseb.org) is director of scientific affairs and public relations for the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB.


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