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LISTEN: How monoclonal antibodies can help fight infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

June 29, 2020

As a physician-scientist, Mark Klempner, MD, professor of medicine and executive vice chancellor of MassBiologics at UMass Medical School, has spent much of his career working to better understand the pathology of Lyme disease and how to protect people from getting sick. In a new Voices of UMassMed podcast, Dr. Klempner talks about a novel approach to Lyme disease prevention that holds great promise.

“We figured out that there was one antibody in particular, that if we gave to animals and hopefully soon to people, would be able to prevent Lyme,” said Dr. Klempner. “In this case, providing the actual antibody that we call Lyme PrEP, developed here at MassBiologics, is what we believe is the answer to prevention.”

Unlike a vaccine, the Lyme PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylaxis, uses a protein that specifically targets and blocks the Lyme-causing bacteria in the tick after it bites an inoculated host. In the podcast, Klempner provides an overview of the early research into the treatment and an outlook on when it could be tested in people.

To listen to the podcast, visit: umassmed.edu/news/voices. To be notified when a new episode of the podcast is available, subscribe on SoundCloud or iTunes.

For more details on the Lyme disease research at MassBiologics, read an article Klempner recently contributed to The Conversation.