Engaging the body’s immune system to prevent or treat conditions such as cancer, arthritis, viral diseases, post-traumatic stress, chemical dependency and viral diseases is an important goal of more personalized, effective medicine.
The potent immunogenicity and excellent safety record of KLH makes it an excellent antigen of choice for a wide range of therapeutic and diagnostic immunological applications, including:
- Antibody Generation - KLH is an effective carrier protein for poorly antigenic molecules in most species.
- Immune Response Testing - KLH is widely used as a neoantigen to assess functional primary immune response and immunocompetence in clinical settings involving immunosuppression such as transplantation and HIV infection. KLH is also used to monitor immune responses in patients receiving therapeutic cancer vaccines and other immunotherapies.
- Immunotoxicology - KLH immunization and ELISA testing of antibody response for immunotoxicity testing of new drugs. KLH's advantages include ease of use, greater reliability, and better standardization relative to SRBC assays.
Courtesy of Z. Zhu, Center for Integrative Molecular Biosciences and Dept. of Cell Biology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.
KLH’s unique properties contribute to its utility in therapeutic applications:
Potent immune system stimulant. KLH generates potent immune responses, from both the humoral (antibody) and cellular arms of the immune system, to virtually any molecule conjugated to it. KLH recruits vigorous “T-cell help” for poorly immunogenic antigens such as polysaccharides.
Anti-tumor immune responses. KLH can break the immune system’s tolerance to “self antigens,” thus allowing the body to mount an effective immune response against its own tumors. This ability to break immune tolerance enables the development of vaccines with the potential to treat the growing list of diseases for which specific therapeutic targets have been identified.
Ease of conjugation. A variety of conjugation chemistries can be used to couple virtually any carbohydrate, protein, or lipid molecule to KLH to produce an immunogenic conjugate.
High conjugation densities. KLH’s large molecular weight and its many available conjugation sites allow the molecule to carry high densities of single or multivalent vaccine antigens. High-density KLH conjugates are effective at cross-linking antigen receptors on B-cells, thus inducing B-cell activation and antibody production.
Clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical trials of autologous idiotype-KLH vaccines have demonstrated significant tumor regression and survival benefits in B-cell lymphoma patients. KLH has an outstanding safety record in humans, documented by thousands of clinical trial immunizations.