Antibodies from Yeast
Researchers from Thayer School, Dartmouth Medical School, and biotechnology firm GlycoFi recently reported a major advance in protein bioengineering. The team made a breakthrough in using yeast to produce antibodies with human sugar structures. Antibodies are proteins with sugars attached to them.
The team’s latest work shows that antibodies with increased cancer-killing ability can be produced by controlling the sugar structures that are attached to them. The finding is important because antibodies are emerging as a significant class of cancer drugs. This research shows that an antibody with human sugar structures can be produced in the lab. GlycoFi’s approach can be applied to other glycoproteins, a growing class of therapeutic proteins.
The March issue of Nature Biotechnology includes Gerngross in its shortlist of researchers who have made the most significant contributions to biotechnology in the past 10 years.
— Sue Knapp
Breaking the Ice
Professor Victor Petrenko’s Icenabled™ icemaker may soon freeze old machines out of the $1 billion icemaking business.
Utilizing his pulse electro-thermal de-icing (PETD) technology, the Icenabled icemaker “will be more productive, more space efficient, more energy efficient, more reliable, and will make ice faster and of higher quality than ever before,” he says. “This technology can increase an icemaker’s production capacity by 70 percent while decreasing its energy consumption by up to 30 percent.”
Conventional commercial icemakers, ubiquitous in hotel hallways, restaurants, and hospitals, consume enormous amounts of power. They cycle through a process of cooling to make the ice and heating to release the ice as many as 100 times a day.
An Icenabled icemaker uses PETD to virtually eliminate the heating portion of the cycle. PETD removes the ice instantly using a high-power electric pulse that lasts less than a second. This same technique can also eliminate the need for conventional hot gas defrost systems.
PETD could ultimately transform the entire $40 billion refrigeration and air conditioning industry, which, according to Petrenko, has struggled with the challenge of keeping cold evaporator coils free of frost and ice. PETD has proven its ability to de-ice these coils in seconds using a fraction of the energy required by conventional coil defrosters.
Petrenko and his company, Ice Engineering LLC, are working on several other applications for PETD, including de-icing buildings, bridges, car windshields, airplanes, windmills, ships, and power lines.
— Catharine Lamm
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