October 31, 2009

Is it possible for someone to win two Nobel Prizes?

If so, Kerry Mullis may be doing just this. Excerpted from MedGaget:
The next person to keep the morning excitement going was Kary Mullis, who won the Noble prize in chemistry for developing PCR. He discussed updates to his latest project (that was previously highlighted at TED; see video below) that involves taking randomly generated 30 base pair DNA oligonucleotide aptamers, or more simply, random lengths of DNA that have binding affinity to a variety of molecular substrates. The idea is that it is relatively easy to create a massive library of aptamers that bind to almost anything at a highly selective level. So, if you've got a microbe you want to kill, you figure out which unique surface proteins it's got that you'd like to target and select an aptamer that binds to it. Then, you take this aptamer and attach it to something that the body has a strong innate immune response to. This combination means that the aptamer binds to the microbe but is attached to a giant flag that tells your immune system to come over and eat up whatever the aptamer is bound to. The technology has been proven to completely eliminate anthrax in animal models and we're quite excited to see where it goes over the coming years.
Dr. Mullis' home page here and the page for his Altermune Project Talk about next generation... Posted by DaveH at October 31, 2009 3:55 PM
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