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Camel's antibodies aid in cancer cure

posted on 16/04/2006: 3240 views

Scientists have found unique antibodies in camel's blood that led them to develop a successful treatment for colon cancer, a Belgian scientist involved in the research said here on Saturday. The finding has also led the research in developing a solution to diagnose infections, said Professor Serge Muyldermans, adding that it was a promising development that could lead to finding a cure for other diseases.

Prof Muyldermans, who is a researcher at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Interactions at Vrije University in Brussels, on Saturday read a research paper at the first Conference of the International Society of Camelids Research and Development in Al Ain. He told Gulf News camels and dromedaries, in particular, have unique antibodies in their blood. Dromedaries are camels with a single hump.

The research team has tested the antibodies on colon tumours in mice. "The result was a 100 per cent success," he said. He said the clinical tests of the medicine developed through the camel antibodies would be conducted later this year. "Discovery of these unnoticed antibodies was accidental as we were not actually doing research on camels," he said.

The already collected blood sample of an Arabian camel was used for the separation of antibodies simply because the students involved in the process had refused to kill a mouse or any other animal for the experiment, he said.

Unlike antibodies from other species these antibodies are devoid of light chains and are composed of a heavy chain dimer [a molecule made up of two simpler identical molecules]," he said. The antibodies are easily purified from serum and the researchers successfully raised an immune response in them.

Prof Muyldermans said the research on the antibody obtained from Arabian camel has also succeeded in developing a solution to diagnose infections or to treat diseases like cancer or trypanosomiase a disorder caused by infestation with a microscopic organism that lives as a parasite in the blood, especially sleeping sickness.

Organised by the College of Food and Agriculture, the conference is also supported by French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, and The Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine in Morocco.

Scientists, meanwhile, working on camelids research in different countries yesterday gathered here to pave the way for an International Society of Camelids Research and Development (Isocard).

The official announcement of the society would be made today, said Dr Ghaleb A. Al Hadrami, a senior faculty member at the College of Food and Agriculture of the UAE University, after the opening of the first conference of ISOCARD. The conference was opened by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of UAE University.

Speaking on the occasion he assured full support to the newly formed society the first global body of its kind. The society would have members from the countries with an interest in camel research and development. (Gulf News)


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