National research collaboration to battle prion-related diseases

February 01, 2012— Ottawa, Ontario

NRC is joining forces with a national research network to help defeat infectious agents that cause disease through the misfolding of proteins called “prions.” 

Under a partnership agreement between NRC’s biotechnology research facility in Montréal and PrioNet Canada*, a national research network linking 16 Canadian universities and institutions, NRC will provide “monoclonal” (i.e. identical and targeted) antibodies to PrioNet members, for use in their research. 

Considered key tools for visualizing and quantifying proteins, monoclonal antibodies are increasingly being used to detect the misfolded proteins implicated in some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. They may also serve as a basis for developing new diagnostic and therapeutic applications that target these proteins.

What are prions?

“Normal prion proteins fold into a particular shape required for their function, just like all proteins. When they misfold, however, these proteins become infectious agents called prions.”

– PrioNet Canada

Anne Marcil

Anne Marcil, who oversees NRC’s Custom Antibody Facility, uses the ClonePixFL to help select mammalian cell clones based on the antibodies they secrete.

“Our collaboration with NRC will add value to the PrioNet research community, providing our researchers with the high-quality antibodies and technical services they need to advance their work,” says PrioNet Executive Director Dr. Michelle Wong.

NRC operates a Custom Antibody Facility that offers everything from custom antibody production to one-step screening and cloning of cells that produce antibodies. The facility, located in Montréal, has extensive experience in the production of monoclonal antibodies against a variety of antigens such as peptides, purified proteins, whole cells, membranes, carbohydrates and small molecules.

“The idea behind this agreement is that PrioNet Canada members can send us the genetic sequence for a specific antigen, or biological materials such as peptides or proteins, from which we will produce the monoclonal antibody they’re looking for,” says NRC business development officer Yves Quenneville. “We can produce antibodies in any volume they need.” 

*PrioNet Canada is funded through the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada program.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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