Dr. Wanatchaporn Arunmanee visited the Against Breast Cancer funded research lab at the University of Southampton to learn about antibody-based cancer therapeutics and to contribute to the ABC research programme.
Dr. Arunmanee, a Lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand with a PhD from Newcastle now runs a research team in Bangkok developing anti-cancer antibodies produced from plant cells to destroy cancer cells.
Genetically engineered plants are an alternative platform for antibody production due to their scalability and ease of production especially in developing countries. Plant-produced antibodies are decorated with sugars which are different from antibodies in current clinical practices. The decorating sugars are essential for anti-cancer antibodies to combat cancerous cells hence it is one of the limitations for the clinical use of plant antibodies.
Dr. Arunmanee joined Professor Max Crispin and his team at the University of Southampton to learn more about how to genetically engineer antibodies with the aim to improve therapeutic properties of plant antibodies.
While at the University of Southampton for 6 months, she worked closely with Professor Crispin’s team on our research programme participating in the project to develop new antibodies against breast cancer cells that can detect and destroy breast cancer cells, including secondary breast cancer, while aiming to minimise damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
Her work explores the biotechnological approach to engineer anti-cancer antibodies for controlling the decorating sugars on antibodies. The right type of sugars on antibodies are important in achieving desirable drug properties as well as the recognition by patient immune systems.
With the state-of-the-art facility and strong dedicated research teams, she has developed her knowledge of antibody engineering, advanced scientific techniques to examine the antibody properties, and cancer immunotherapy. Dr Arunmanee attended our open day at the Centre of Cancer immunology at the University of Southampton which led her to realise the direct contribution that the supporter’s of Against Breast Cancer have on breast cancer research.
These experiences gained from her visit has shaped her own research plans and strengthen collaboration between UK and Thailand with a shared vision of improved treatments for cancer.