October 7, 2002
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-Richard Goldsby, the John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer and professor of biology at Amherst College, is conducting cloning research that may help manufacture human antibodies that could be used to treat diseases. Goldsby and his colleagues at Hematech, a company he founded, have produced four cloned calves that make human antibodies. The research, the first step in developing of a system for producing human polyclonal antibodies that could be used to prevent or treat antibiotic-resistant infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer and diseases resulting from bioterrorism, was the result of an ongoing joint effort between Hematech and Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. Goldsby says, "This is a completely new way to make these antibodies. We have a cow on the ground that has integrated antibody-specifying human genes into the bovine genome." The study was published in September in Nature Biotechnology.
Currently there is a substantial need for immunoglobulin, or broad-spectrum human polyclonal antibodies, for the treatment of many immune system disorders. However, the supply is limited to that which can be obtained from human donors and the application is limited because human donors cannot be optimally immunized.
In 1998, Goldsby and three colleagues founded Hematech (http://www.hematech.com), a pioneer in the development and production of antibodies for therapeutic uses. Hematech uses mammalian cloning technology to create cloned, transgenic cattle that produce polyclonal human antibody. The company was created to address the need for human polyclonal antibodies for use in the therapy or prevention of infectious diseases and the treatment of immune deficiencies. In collaboration with Kirin Pharmaceuticals, Hematech has cloned cattle that contain a human artificial chromosome (HAC) that includes the entire human heavy chain locus (~1.5 Mb) and the entire human lambda light chain locus (~1 Mb). In these cloned, HAC-transgenic animals both the heavy and light chain immunoglobulin loci undergo rearrangement. Furthermore, these engineered cattle have detectable levels of human antibodies in their blood streams.
Goldsby, who also teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has been a professor at Amherst College since 1982. He is the author of many scientific papers and with Thomas Kindt and Barbara Osborne, the author of the 4th edition of Kuby Immunology (2000), a widely used textbook. Other works include Cells and Energy (1977) and Race and Races (1977), Thinking AIDS, with Mary Catherine Bateson (1989), and many scientific papers.