ADVANCES IN B CELL GROWTH, FGF STRUCTUREThe ability of scientists to routinely raise human monoclonalantibodies to any antigen may still be years away, butSchering-Plough Corp. researchers have taken a key steptoward that goal.

In Friday's edition of Science, they describe a method formaintaining in culture human antibody-producing cells called Bcells. This will allow scientists to study the regulation of B cellgrowth and differentiation. Researchers still need the means toinduce B cells to make antibodies to a given antigen.Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Protein Design Labs Inc. andXoma Corp. are developing humanized mouse antibodies, someof which are already in the clinic. Also in Science, researchersat the California Institute of Technology and Amgen Inc. reportthe three-dimensional structures of acidic and basic fibroblastgrowth factors. FGFs stimulate cell growth and blood vesselformation and bind to the anti-coagulant agent heparin.Identifying the regions of the proteins that carry out specificFGF functions could lead to FGF products. Amgen, CaliforniaBiotechnology Inc. and Synergen Inc. are developing FGFs aswound-healing agents. -- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D.

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