Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases Using Transgenic Plants

Period of Performance: 09/30/1998 - 03/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Agrivax, Inc.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION: (Adapted from the applicant's abstract) This proposal deals with the efficacy of autoantigens produced in transgenic plants when used as an oral prophylactic or therapeutic treatment of autoimmune diseases. They have selected the animal model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) which has been used in the study of multiple sclerosis (MS). They are interested in determining the efficacy of human myelin basic protein (huMBP) expressed in plants in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. They will use the EAE animal model to determine; 1) if plant derived MBP is safe in animals such that it does not trigger disease in normal or susceptible animals and; 2) the efficacy of plant expressed MBP in prevention of disease in challenged susceptible animals. Previous animal studies have shown that feeding of species specific MBP resulted in favorable results, however, feeding heterologous MBP also exhibited beneficial effects. For animal challenge studies, they will use species specific MBP. They have isolated MBP cDNA from human brain and cloned this into plant expression vectors for the generation of transgenic plants expressing huMBP. The advantage of this system is that it allows for the generation of species specific MBP produced in an edible form of delivery. It eliminates the costly isolation and cold storage requirements of MBP obtained from bovine brain. It also eliminates the potential risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that feeding bovine brain might pose. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: NOT AVAILABLE