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Red cell, platelet, and granulocyte diagnostics and recombinant antibody development.
IBGRL Diagnostics Development aims to extend our knowledge of the production, structure and function of recombinant antibody and antigen molecules and to translate this into improved, next-generation diagnostic reagents. We use a combination of molecular biology, structural biology (biophysics), biochemical and cell culture techniques to develop reagents for diagnostic and research use in blood transfusion practice and organ transplantation. This includes providing analytical tools to support protein or cellular therapies (antibody therapeutics and Advanced Cellular Therapies, respectively).
From left to right: Laura Barry, Becky Lewis, Kay Ridgwell, Fran Green and Piers Walser.
Not present in team picture - Matt Burden
Kay is the head of Diagnostic Development and the Antigen Engineering team manager and works in the field of recombinant blood group antigen development. Fran is a senior scientist in the antigen engineering team, developing soluble membrane proteins for their use in diagnostic assays. Piers is the Antibody Engineering team manager, specialising in structure based protein engineering. Laura, Becky and Matt are members of the antibody engineering team, developing recombinant antibody blood grouping reagents using phage display.
Who We Are
Antigen Engineering offers a service to NHSBT, the NHS and external
customers to produce clinically significant antigens as antigenically
active recombinant molecules.
Such molecules can be immobilised on solid-phase platforms to allow
the sensitive detection, specific identification and accurate quantitation
of, for example, blood group specific antibodies in transfusion and
transplant recipients and expectant mothers. The next generation systems
should be more sensitive, specific and rapid than current methods which
are based on selected red cell panels for antibody screening and
identification. Kell, Duffy,
Lutheran, Knops, and MNSs system antigens have already been successfully
Antibody engineering amalgamates traditional protein engineering techniques (protein chemistry) with new biophysical approaches in order to achieve the desired properties of the reagents. Numerous recombinant platforms have been established to modify existing antibody specificities and/or graft onto the molecule of choice. This also involves the generation of IgM antibodies from existing cell lines producing IgG antibodies, and the generation of new cell lines by cloning antibody variable region cDNA (extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes) – and expressing these as recombinant IgM molecules in mammalian cell lines. In silico approaches are employed to study the dynamic properties of the residues critical for antibody variable region binding to antigen. Information from molecular modelling can be used to engineer antibodies with new variable region sequences with improved or modified antigen binding characteristics.