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14 June 2010 @ 12:09 pm
Here's Your Effing Jetpack: Plastic Antibodies!  

Plastic Antibodies Effective In Living Animals!

Natural antibodies are proteins that are shaped to wrap around the molecules of a dangerous substance. The body has to be exposed to the substance to learn how to make them, and the immune system responses involved in the process can contribute to the trauma. Thing like antivenom serums are currently made by injecting a large animal like a horse with the toxin, and then filtering their blood for the antibodies—these natural antibodies can sometimes induce reactions of their own.

This technique creates synthetic antibodies out of plastic, simply by molding the polymer around the molecules.

This is insanely brilliant, and could open huge doors in medical treatments.

It's also one of those Amazing Advances of the Future that slipped by most SF writers.

In a space opera setting, since these are biologically neutral, you could actually have antitoxins that would work on almost any species! Call Sector General!

I can so easily see a Plastic Antibody Synthesis rig as part of the onboard medical systems of KLDR-4077, or a transhuman/posthuman character like Charlotte; it seems especially well-suited to her "rebuilt to survive in a toxic world" theme.

Regular readers will note that I've added another new "column" to my Subject Headers: "Here's Your Effing Jetpack." Yes, it's the 21st Century, and no, we don't have all the wonderful Jetsons technology they promised us—but we have so much tech that hardly anyone did foresee. And we take most of it for granted, including the ones that make this post possible. There are enough net-tech sites out there that I won't bother making note of the latest Cupertino Tchotchke, but if something weird, wonderful, and off the wall strikes my eye—well, Here's Your Effing Jetpack.
Rikoshi Kisaragirikoshi on June 14th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
Or Qa'lana could just cut your chest open and wrap a Yuuzhan Vong bioorganism around your heart and call it a day.
silussa on June 14th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
A study comparing science fiction (often noted as being WAY out there) and reality shows that usually the science fiction is *behind* the curve in its predictions.

Just look at Star Trek's TOS "Sickbay", and then consider all the remote monitoring a typical hospital now does.

Plastic antibodies....assuming they can be normally excreted without clogging anything up, that sounds simply...well, Amazing.
Richardf8richardf8 on June 14th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
More Effing Jetpack
In accordance with the prophecy set forth in the opening credits of the Jetsons, the American Workplace has become, in the main, a place where one sits on one's butt pushing buttons all day.
Your Obedient Serpent: Vathelind on June 14th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Re: More Effing Jetpack
Note that the Jetsons also anticipated repetitive stress syndrome from pushing buttons all day.
Richardf8richardf8 on June 14th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
Re: More Effing Jetpack
"My button pushing finger is sore."

Yes, that had not escaped me.
Hafochafoc on June 14th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
...Atomic Rocket Ship with a five-man crew (and they were all men) on their way to a fungus-covered Venus. Maintaining contact with Earth with a nuclear-powered radio that had an entire compartment of glowing vacuum tubes. And then there's the famous computer the size of the Empire State Building, all glowing tubes inside. But ya know what, if technology advanced in anything like a linear fashion, the writers who were creating things like that back in the early 1950s would have been right.
Tombfyretombfyre on June 14th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's a rather brilliant idea right there! ^^ Lets hope these things make it into the medical world.
ArchTeryxarchteryx on June 15th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Even if they don't make it into in vivo use, they'll really make it much easier to do alot of scientific research. I can see Abcam and Santa Cruz Biotech being all over this.
Terminotaur: Science 2terminotaur on June 15th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC)
(right up my area of knowledge for a change. :) )
This is quite exciting. I admit when I first heard it I was skeptical about the impact, but reading the article this is quite a good move.

It will depend the cost of the procedure to create these, but it would be so much easier (and animal friendly) to produce research antibodies, and with much less worry of cross-reactivity. Less animals used too.

From a medical standpoint more than one study will have to be done to confirm safety, but this looks to be full of awesome. Why? Because if you can create this binding structure, tweaking it should be easier than tweaking the antibody as we've been doing.

The one real possible limitation could be isolating protein in native forms that would occur in the body. We can know the sequence, but larger scale synthesis/purification of protein will probably be the limiting step. Also, the right shape is one thing, but I'm just wondering how sticky it will be for the target protein (I'll read the paper soon).
one in a billionsiege on June 15th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
As a couple of folks have mentioned indirectly, this will be incredibly wonderful provided it has no toxic behaviors (such as sticking to inappropriate chemicals or otherwise interrupting bodily processes).