Human monoclonal CD44 antibodies as potential IVIg replacements

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a blood product which consists of antibodies pooled from 1000s of blood and plasma donors and is injected into patients with autoimmune diseases such as immune thrombocytopenia (ITP; a bleeding disorder). IVIg ameliorates ITP as well as many other autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, Canada is not self-sufficient for plasma donations for the manufacture of IVIg products. We only collect enough plasma to meet 30% of the demand for IVIg and the balance of plasma is purchased on the open market from the USA. Shortages of source plasma in the US could seriously jeopardize the supply of IVIg for Canadians. There are also concerns with emerging pathogens. If we were able to manufacture a recombinant reagent such as a
monoclonal antibody that could substitute for IVIg, or alleviate some of the demand for IVIg, this would be a major benefit for Canada. The PI’s laboratory has shown that very low doses of mouse antibodies to mouse CD44 can substitute for IVIg in a model of ITP. This grant has the goal of creating and evaluating new antibodies that bind to human CD44 using CD44 humanized mice (i.e., the mice were inserted with human DNA exchanging mouse CD44 for human CD44). The concept is that the new antibodies could be used as an IVIg replacement in the treatment of autoimmune disease. The development of a recombinant therapeutic (antibodies to human CD44) such as proposed in this application would also result in a zero-risk product for patients.
Principal Investigator / Supervisor
Co-Investigator(s) / Trainee
NI, Heyu
St. Michael's Hospital
Intramural Research Grant Program
Total Amount Awarded
Project Start Date
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