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Blood. 2005 Jan 15;105(2):562-6. Epub 2004 Sep 16.

A novel therapeutic approach for thrombocytopenia by minibody agonist of the thrombopoietin receptor.

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Chugai-Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Fuji-Gotemba Research Laboratory, Shizuoka, Japan.


Antibodies have brought valuable therapeutics in the clinical treatment of various diseases without serious adverse effects through their intrinsic features such as specific binding to the target antigen with high affinity, clinical safety as serum proteins, and long half-life. Agonist antibodies, furthermore, could be expected to maximize the value of therapeutic antibodies. Indeed, several IgG/IgM antibodies have been reported to induce cellular growth/differentiation and apoptosis. These agonist antibodies, however, should be further improved to exert more potent biologic activities and appropriate serum half-life depending upon the disease indications. Here, we report that IgG antibodies against the thrombopoietin receptor (Mpl), which have an absence or very weak agonist activity, can be engineered to be agonist minibodies, which include diabody or sc(Fv)2 as potent as natural ligand. Through this technological development, minibodies have been successfully constructed to bind and activate 2 types of dysfunctional mutant Mpls that cause congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia (CAMT). This drastic conversion of biologic activities by designing minibodies can be widely applicable to generate agonist minibodies for clinical application, which will constitute a new paradigm in antibody-based therapeutics.

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