Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Professor, Director Biotechnology Undergraduate Program
My research for the last 25 years has focused on carbohydrate antigens that are important in cancer and in infectious disease (bacterial, viruses and parasites). These structures play important roles in the growth, adhesion and spread of cancer cells and bacteria and viruses. Immune responses to these structures can therefore be an effective mechanism to decrease disease. The anti-carbohydrate immune response is usually T cell independent, more difficult to develop and less in magnitude than the immune response to proteins.My long-term goals involve using information obtained about carbohydrates of related structures to manipulate the anti-carbohydrate immune response to improve clinical outcome. This work has involved use of synthetic oligosaccharides conjugated to bovine serum albumin as antigens, the use of structurally related synthetic oligosaccharides in inhibition studies, the use of antibody to carbohydrates in immunotherapy and immunolocalization of cancer, the use of genetic analysis of genes related to carbohydrate synthesis and adhesion, bacterial vaccine stability assays and bacteria rapid diagnosis assay development. The immunochemical aspects of this work were performed to determine the immunodominant regions of the sugars and the effects of small structural changes in the inhibitory oligosaccharides on the immunologic reaction.
I have been involved in research concerning the immune response to carbohydrate antigens since 1984, through experience gained while a post-doctoral fellow at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), gaining clinical diagnostic experience with Dr. T. Ming Chu, (the discoverer of Prostate Specific Antigen for diagnosis) and then carbohydrate experience with Dr. Khushi Matta (Carbohydrate synthetic chemist). Since that time, I have been involved in the development of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to defined saccharides as diagnostic markers or as vaccine candidates in both bacterial and cancer research.
My laboratory, RPCI based for the first 9 years, and now at UB for the last 13 years, has had an emphasis on tumor associated carbohydrate antigens, and recently has been involved in 2 patent applications, “Use of anti-TF antibody to block metastasis of TF- antigen bearing tumors” (K R Olson, principle inventor of JAA-F11 monoclonal antibody), and “Carbohydrate Antigen-Nanoparticle Conjugates and Methods for Inhibiting Metastasis in Cancer” (K R Olson, co-inventor). Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen (TF-Ag) is a tumor associated antigen that is exposed in many types of carcinoma cells including breast, prostate, colon, and bladder.