Foley - Use of single domain antibodies as therapeutics in fibrosis and other chronic diseases

Group leader

Michael FoleyDr Michael Foley

Associate Professor, College of Science, Health and Engineering

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Research overview

Our group is using single domain antibodies that have been developed from sharks to identify novel therapeutics against a number of chronic diseases.

Monoclonal antibodies are a growing class of drugs to many human diseases, however they have some limitations. Shark antibodies and their human equivalents are small and extremely stable with long loops that are able to penetrate into important regions of proteins. Thus, in certain situations, they may offer advantages over traditional antibodies.

Our group uses a library of shark antibodies and a library of the human version of these antibodies to identify molecules that will bind to proteins that have been shown to be involved in human diseases. We have obtained high affinity, single domain antibodies to a variety of targets including ion channels as well as G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) such as CXCR4, which are two important classes of molecules that many of the popular medicines target. Our single domain antibody against CXCR4 was found to block HIV invasion as well as being able to reduce inflammation and stop the development of fibrosis in mouse models of lung fibrosis and eye fibrosis.

Through the company AdAlta, our group is continuing to progress this CXCR4 binder towards human clinical trials in pulmonary fibrosis, a devastating disease for which there is limited treatment. In addition we are collaborating with various groups to identify other single domains from our libraries against other targets of interest including Amyloid protein, which is involved in Alzheimer's disease.

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