24 November 2016

Miniantibodies Reduce Inflammation and Pain

The research led by Friedrich Koch-Nolte of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany involved a consortium of European researchers including Eric Boué-Grabot from the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease. Their findings were published detailed (Nov. 23, 2016) in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

New type of biological molecule called nanobodies, or miniantibodies, can block inflammation and reduce pain in mice. It is 1,000 times more effective than current drugs being used and represent a next-generation strategy against inflammatory diseases.

Injured and dying cells release lots of ATP, which triggers inflammation by binding to the ion channel P2X7. Interfering with this process could treat numerous diseases, but so far small-molecule drugs have not been potent or specific enough. Now, researcher from Europe have developed single-domain “mini antibodies” called nanobodies that rise to the challenge. One of their nanobodies blocked the P2X7 channel and inhibited disease in mouse models of kidney inflammation and contact dermatitis. Another nanobody dampened the release of inflammatory messengers from human cells 1000 times more effectively than the small-molecule drugs now under development. Because P2X7 is implicated in a host of inflammatory diseases, blocking its effect can have tremendous therapeutic potential for the millions of people who suffer from such diseases,


Danquah W, Meyer-Schwesinger C, Rissiek B, Pinto C, Serracant-Prat A, Amadi M, Iacenda D, Knop JH, Hammel A, Bergmann P, Schwarz N, Assunção J, Rotthier W, Haag F, Tolosa E, Bannas P, Boué-Grabot E, Magnus T, Laeremans T, Stortelers C, Koch-Nolte F. (2016) Nanobodies that block gating of the P2X7 ion channel ameliorate inflammation Science Translational Medicine. 8, Issue 366, pp. 366ra162 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf8463