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Biotechnology Programme

Monoclonal Antibodies Core Unit

Head of Unit:  Giovanna Roncador
Research highlights

During the last 17 years, the Monoclonal Antibodies Unit has generated a large number of mAbs against more than 135 different antigens, mostly targeting molecules for which mAbs are not commercially available. Many of those mAbs have been licensed to external companies, generating royalties that represent an important source of revenue for the CNIO.

Each year we prepare and update a detailed CNIO mAbs catalogue, which contains the datasheets of more than 80 thoroughly validated high-quality mAbs.

Research activities

In collaboration with Dr Miguel Ángel Piris, Associate Medical Chief of the Pathology Service at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz, we have produced and characterised a new monoclonal antibody against the TOX protein. TOX (Thymocyte Selection-Associated HighMobility Group box) is a member of the family of HMG box proteins and is involved in the regulation of gene expression. This protein is present in many subsets of immune cells, suggesting that it plays significant roles in the immune system, including the development of CD4 T cells and NK cells, as well as lymph node organogenesis.

We have investigated the expression of TOX in normal and neoplastic lymphoid tissue using a novel murine monoclonal antibody. Using immunohistochemistry techniques, we found that the TOX mAb may help in the identification of neoplastic B and T cells and may be used to achieve a better understanding of the pathogenic role of TOX in inflammatory and malignant diseases.

EuroMAbNet and its commitment with Ab validation

In 2008, in collaboration with Oxford University, we founded EuroMAbNet (www.euromabnet.com), a non-profit organisation that includes internationally distinguished multidisciplinary academic laboratories focused on the generation and validation of mAbs.

The use of poorly characterised reagents is of major concern to the scientific community because of the perpetuation of serious scientific misconceptions that inevitably compromise the advancement of science. To help address mAbs unreliability, EuroMAbNet is strongly committed to improving the education and training of junior scientists. For this reason, we organise annual Antibody Validation Workshops to provide practical guidelines about the main principles underlying antibody validation. These workshops outline the problems generated by the use of poorly validated reagents and are designed to educate researchers, helping them to minimise the purchase of ineffective Abs, understand when additional validation is necessary, and to have an understanding of the information needed when publishing antibody-based data.