Clemson Scientists Refining Natural Immune System Booster

CLEMSON -- Vaccines and antibiotics help control infectious diseases, but some experts say they can have serious side effects or limited effectiveness. In response, Clemson University researchers are collaborating with a biotechnology company to help the body itself fight disease.

The company, Animune, Inc., holds a patent to produce immune enhancers derived from colostrum in cows' milk. These products, called transfer factors, sensitize the body's own immune system to respond against disease.

Clemson animal scientists A. B. Bodine and Thomas R. Scott are working with Greg B. Wilson from Animune, Inc., on the project. All have extensive backgrounds in immune system research. Bodine developed an assay system to study the immune system in sharks. Scott has produced monoclonal antibodies that have been used to study the immunity of poultry. Wilson is an immunologist with extensive experience in both human and animal research.

Other members on the project team are Sue Valentino, a nutritional immunologist from Clemson, and Gary Paddock, a molecular biologist at the Medical University of South Carolina and chairman of Animune.

They have combined their skills to develop a test that identifies the presence of immune transfer factors quickly, easily and accurately. In addition to developing the test, the researchers will produce monoclonal antibodies, highly specific antibodies that react to the presence of a designated disease agent.

"We're purifying the compounds that confer immunity and produce T-cell memory for lasting immunity," said Bodine, the Clemson project leader. "When the process is perfected, these transfer factors can be used against a wide variety of diseases in humans and livestock."

The product will first be tested in livestock -- cattle, swine and poultry -- in about two years. After the livestock tests are complete, human trials will begin. The product holds the

Contact: Budd Bodine
Clemson University

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