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UK scientists team up with UCB in search of new monoclonal antibodies

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    UCB and the UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) have launched a new collaboration that may point the way towards new treatments.

    The MRC has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health for more than a century. Originally founded in 1913 to help tackle tuberculosis, the Council now invests UK taxpayer's money in medical research.

    Its track record is impressive: 31 MRC-funded researchers have won Nobel prizes and its scientists have been behind the discoveries of vitamins, the structure of DNA and the link between smoking and cancer.

    Under the new initiative, UCB will provide MRC funded UK scientists with access to cutting-edge technologies to discover new monoclonal antibodies. Proteins of this kind, which are produced by immune cells, are already used in treating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

    UCB and MRC are hoping that their collaboration will enable scientists to deepen their understanding of disease, identify new therapeutic targets and kick-start the search for new medicines.

    At the heart of this cooperation will be UCB's high-throughput antibody screening technology which builds on the latest in robotics, data processing and medical science to test large numbers of molecules to see if they have the potential to improve human health.

    By combining technology and scientific expertise, we hope to find antibodies with the right characteristics to prevent or control diseases for which current therapies are not meeting the needs of patients.

    UCB and MRC will work initially for a three-year period on up to five projects per year, all with the shared goal of improving public health and the lives of patients. UK-based academics will be able to submit research proposals to the MRC later this year and these will be independently assessed to select the best proposals.

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