Discovery of the Meditope
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been, and are being, successfully used to treat cancer, inflammation and infectious disease. Because of their extraordinary targeting ability, scientists have been engineering mAbs and mAb fragments in attempts to develop even more potent therapies and more effective antibody-based products.At the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope, a team of scientists was exploring new ways to reduce the off-target effects of therapeutic antibodies. A serendipitous outcome of this research was the discovery of a unique binding site inside the Fab region of the antibody into which a small peptide, intended to mask the antigen-binding region, nestled itself, and, in doing so, did not interfere with the antibody's natural antigen binding. Since this peptide was found to reside in the 'middle place' of the antibody's Fab region, it was named "meditope" from the Latin medius for middle and Greek topos for place. With the initial discovery of this non-covalent binding of a meditope in the Fab region of an antibody, researchers realized the potential power of the technology. It could open up a myriad of conceivable applications by snapping anything imaginable onto an antibody with specificity, consistency and ease through a non-covalent interaction whose affinity could be modulated to suit any need. This was the genesis of Meditope's SnAP technology.