An international team of scientists led by Kenneth Shea from the University of California, Irvine say they've developed a new process to make artificial antibodies that bind with the same specificity as natural antibodies. These new artificial antibodies are made from polymers rather than proteins and promise to be cheap and long-lasting.
MIT Technology Review notes that scientists have been working on artificial antibodies for 20 years. The breakthrough relies on a refined method called molecular imprinting. A solution consisting of the polymer antibody grows around a target molecule, which is then washed away. And when the artificial antibody then meets the target molecule, it binds closely to it.
"You can make a mold around almost any molecule," says Klaus Mosbach, founder of the Center for Molecular Imprinting at the Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, in Lund, Sweden, who pioneered the technique.
- read the article in MIT Technology Review