Antibody Therapeutics Group

Dementia is an umbrella term for several incurable diseases, affecting memory, cognitive abilities, and behaviour. One of the greatest challenges for treating these diseases is the delivery of drugs to the brain. This is because the brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier. This barrier stops any unwanted molecules in the blood from entering the brain.

Antibodies are highly specific immune molecules that can neutralise pathogens. But in their normal form, antibodies cannot effectively enter the brain from the blood. Our aim is to develop next-generation antibody therapeutics for treating Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. We develop highly specific antibodies against proteins involved in dementia and use antibody engineering, as well as biological and non-biological nanoparticles, for better antibody delivery to the brain.

Research interests

  • Antibody therapeutics
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Nanoparticles

  • Molecular biology
  • Protein expression and purification
  • Histology
  • Models of neurodegenerative diseases

About our research

To overcome the challenges of conventional antibody therapeutics, our lab has a strong focus on using pDNA and mRNA delivery strategies in combination with nanotechnology to enhance brain delivery and specifically target intraneuronal antigens. Our novel antibodies are tested in in vitro cell culture assays as well as in transgenic mice.

Our group is well established for phage antibody library panning, protein expression and purification, cell culture, and biochemical techniques such as tissue homogenisation, western blotting and ELISA. We have exisiting colonies of transgenic mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases and are proficient in mouse stereotaxic surgery, immunisation, behaviour and brain dissection.

Research team

Research team head

Rebecca Nisbet

Dr Rebecca Nisbet

Group Head

Team members

Research and technical staff

  • Alayna Caruso

Master students

  • Patricia Wongsodirdjo
  • Madeleine Lester

Selected publications

  • Bajracharya R, Cruz E, Götz J and Nisbet RM (2022), ‘Ultrasound-mediated delivery of novel tau-specific monoclonal antibody enhances brain uptake but not therapeutic efficacy’, Journal of Controlled Release, 349, 634-648, doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.07.026
  • Bajracharya R, Brici D, Bodea LG, Janowicz PW, Götz J and Nisbet RM (2021), ‘Tau antibody isotype induces differential effects following passive immunisation of tau transgenic mice’, Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 9(1), 42, doi:10.1186/s40478-021-01147-0
  • Janowicz PW, Odabaee M, Götz J and Nisbet RM (2019), ‘Ultrasound-mediated blood-brain barrier opening enhances delivery of therapeutically relevant formats of a tau-specific antibody’, Scientific Reports, 9(1), 9255, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-45577-2
  • Brici D, Götz J and Nisbet, RM (2018), ‘A novel antibody targeting tau phosphorylated at serine 235 detects neurofibrillary tangles’, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 61(3), 899-905, doi:10.3233/JAD-170610
  • Nisbet RM, Van der Jeugd A, Leinenga G, Evans HT, Janowicz PW and Götz J (2017), ‘Combined effects of scanning ultrasound and a tau-specific single chain antibody in a tau transgenic mouse model’, Brain, 140(5), 1220–1230, doi: 10.1093/brain/awx052

Contact us

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