Applied Physics seminar: The building blocks of life – the proteins


The availability of the human genome sequence has created a range of new possibilities for biomedical research and permits a more systematic approach to the analysis of the corresponding proteins. By generating specific affinity ligands (antibodies) to all human proteins, novel valuable information about the human proteins can be acquired. Within the Human Protein Atlas (HPA) Project the antibody generation is performed in a systematic and high-throughput manner and the acquired antibodies are subsequently used for functional analysis of the corresponding proteins in a wide range of assays. The protein expression and localization studies give us information about where in the body certain protein can be found and from that information building of knowledge regarding their function is possible. All acquired data are visualized on an open accessible web page.

Affinity proteins can also be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. By radiolabeling an affinity protein that binds to a protein that is over expressed on the surface of breast cancer cells (HER2), we have been able to very selectively detect and image tumors in mice. Furthermore, a first-in-human study shows that this HER2-bining domain is safe, has favorable dosimetry characteristics and can provide images of HER2-expressing primary breast tumors and auxiliary lymph node metastases with high contrast and thus, is a promising tool for evaluation of HER2 expression in breast cancer using SPECT. Encourage by these results, we recently started a therapeutic study where a bispecific version of the HER2-binding domain is used.

The progress of the Human Protein Atlas as well as the development of a clinically promising binding domain will be discussed.