Artificial Lymph Node Technology


In Nature Biotechnology in 2004, artificial lymph node technology was reported by Dr. Takeshi Watanabe and colleagues1. MBL has been involved in technological development for producing high-performance antibodies based on this artificial lymph node technology. The “artificial lymph node technology,” as indicated by the name, was used to create artificial lymph nodes in the kidney of a mouse that naturally has no lymph nodes. The artificial lymph nodes have a distinct feature in that it consists of only target antigen-specific immune cells, while cells responsive to various antigens are present in normal lymph nodes. By transplanting an artificial lymph node constructed in a mouse immunized with antigen to a mouse with severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), a mouse is produced with an immune system active only against the target antigen. When this mouse is stimulated with the antigen, antibody titer in blood of the mouse is 10 to 100 times higher than that in normal mice1.

When this technology was applied to monoclonal antibody production, the number of target monoclonal antibodies obtained per mouse became more than 10 times greater than that obtained by conventional methods. In addition, these monoclonal antibodies contained various ultra-high affinity clones. This means that diverse, high-quality monoclonal antibodies can be obtained at one time by using the artificial lymph node technology, as well as that this technology can possibly be used as an antibody production technology to create innovative monoclonal antibodies. Currently, we are engaging in improvements of the technology to produce more high-quality antibodies, while trying to develop new technologies for producing antibodies that are very difficult or impossible to obtain by the conventional methods.

1) Suematsu S and Watanabe T, Generation of synthetic lymphoid tissue-like organoid in mice. Nature Biotechnology. 22: 1539-1545, 2004 (PubMed: 15568019)