DOE News
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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2019-12-09 14:45:23
    • Article ID: 723732

    Research at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source leads to new Ebola drug

    • Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

      Researchers grew crystals of two antibodies, mAb114 and mAb100, in complex with the Ebola virus protein. Using the Advanced Photon Source, the researchers were able to show how these antibodies could neutralize the virus.

    Effective treatments for deadly diseases often depend on unlocking the mysteries of how proteins in our bodies behave. Research at U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory enables these insights, including one breakthrough that led to a promising drug for Ebola.

    Scientists using specialized beamlines at Argonne's Structural Biology Center (SBC), a facility for macromolecular crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, can examine molecular structures and interactions that could yield lifesaving medicines for various diseases.

    "Until this year, there was no really good cure for this virus. It is a significant breakthrough." — Andrzej Joachimiak, director of the SBC and co-director of the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases

    In the case of the Ebola work, a team of researchers used an SBC beamline to help show how two human antibodies were able to neutralize the virus. That original study, published in 2016 in the journal Science, contributed to the development of a drug that protects against the Ebola virus and proved remarkably effective during a recent Ebola outbreak and clinical trials in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    "Until this year, there was no really good cure for this virus," said Andrzej Joachimiak, director of the SBC and co-director of the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases. "It is a significant breakthrough."

    The Ebola virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever, on average kills about half of those who become infected according to the World Health Organization. The two antibodies studied, mAb114 and mAb100, were isolated from an Ebola survivor. The researchers examined single-crystal samples of a complex combining the Ebola protein with the protective antibodies, using X-ray diffraction data from the beamlines to construct a 3D model of the protein complex.

    Each antibody was able to bind to the Ebola protein and block it from entering human cells. In recent clinical trials, patients exposed to the virus received a drug developed by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases based on one of those antibodies, mAb114. Those patients had a 90% survival rate — almost twice the rate of previous available treatments. The drug, which has been licensed by Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, has a Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is currently under expedited development. A second drug using different antibodies and developed by New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, REGN-EB3, has shown similar results.

    "It's a long process of going from the protein drug target to crystal structure to the drug," Joachimiak said. "SBC is enabling that discovery process and helping to accelerate it."

    The advance is just one of many that emerge from research conducted at Argonne's SBC. Every year, hundreds of researchers use the facility to explore a broad range of scientific inquiries, from potential treatments for diseases to bioenergy and environmental research.

    The research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Vaccine Research Center, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health. The use of SBC beamline was supported by U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

    About the Advanced Photon Source
    This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. DOE Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.

    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.

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    Here, There and Everywhere: Large and Giant Viruses Abound Globally

    Here, There and Everywhere: Large and Giant Viruses Abound Globally

    In Nature, a team led by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) researchers uncovered a broad diversity of large and giant viruses that belong to the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDV) supergroup, expanding virus diversity in this group 10-fold from just 205 genomes.

    Chemistry finding could make solar energy more efficient

    Chemistry finding could make solar energy more efficient

    Scientists for the first time have developed a single molecule that can absorb sunlight efficiently and also act as a catalyst to transform solar energy into hydrogen, a clean alternative to fuel for things like gas-powered vehicles. This new molecule collects energy from the entire visible spectrum, and can harness more than 50% more solar energy than current solar cells can. The finding could help humans transition away from fossil fuels and toward energy sources that do not contribute to climate change.

    New model helps pave the way to bringing clean fusion energy down to Earth

    New model helps pave the way to bringing clean fusion energy down to Earth

    State-of-the-art simulation confirms a key source of heat and energy loss in spherical fusion facilities.

    Rising global temperatures turn northern permafrost region into significant carbon source

    Rising global temperatures turn northern permafrost region into significant carbon source

    A new study that incorporates datasets gathered from more than 100 sites by institutions including the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, suggests that decomposition of organic matter in permafrost soil is substantially larger than previously thought, demonstrating the significant impact that emissions from the permafrost soil could have on the greenhouse effect and global warming.

    Transformative 'Green' Accelerator Achieves World's First 8-pass Full Energy Recovery

    Transformative 'Green' Accelerator Achieves World's First 8-pass Full Energy Recovery

    Scientists from Cornell University and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have successfully demonstrated the world's first capture and reuse of energy in a multi-turn particle accelerator, where electrons are accelerated and decelerated in multiple stages and transported at different energies through a single beamline.

    First detailed electronic study of new nickelate superconductor finds 3D metallic state

    First detailed electronic study of new nickelate superconductor finds 3D metallic state

    It represents an entirely new type of ground state for transition metal oxides, and opens new directions for experiments and theoretical studies of how superconductivity arises and how it can be optimized in this system and possibly in other compounds.

    What's MER? It's a Way to Measure Quantum Materials, and It's Telling US New and Interesting Things

    What's MER? It's a Way to Measure Quantum Materials, and It's Telling US New and Interesting Things

    Experimental physicists have combined several measurements of quantum materials into one in their ongoing quest to learn more about manipulating and controlling the behavior of them for possible applications. They even coined a term for it-- Magneto-elastoresistance, or MER.

    Scientists pioneer new generation of semiconductor neutron detector

    Scientists pioneer new generation of semiconductor neutron detector

    In a new study, scientists have developed a new type of semiconductor neutron detector that boosts detection rates by reducing the number of steps involved in neutron capture and transduction.

    Connecting the dots in the sky could shed new light on dark matter

    Connecting the dots in the sky could shed new light on dark matter

    Astrophysicists have come a step closer to understanding the origin of a faint glow of gamma rays covering the night sky. They found that this light is brighter in regions that contain a lot of matter and dimmer where matter is sparser - a correlation that could help them narrow down the properties of exotic astrophysical objects and invisible dark matter.

    Nano-objects of Desire: Assembling Ordered Nanostructures in 3-D

    Nano-objects of Desire: Assembling Ordered Nanostructures in 3-D

    A new DNA-programmable nanofabrication platform organizes inorganic or biological nanocomponents in the same prescribed ways.


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    Lin Chen receives Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry

    Lin Chen receives Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry

    The Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society announces that Lin X. Chen has received the 2020 Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry. The award recognizes Chen for "fundamental contributions to the elucidation of excited state structures, dynamics and energetics of light harvesting systems.

    Polymer expert Advincula named ORNL-UT Governor's Chair

    Polymer expert Advincula named ORNL-UT Governor's Chair

    Rigoberto "Gobet" Advincula has been named Governor's Chair of Advanced and Nanostructured Materials at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.

    Former PPPL intern honored for outstanding machine learning poster

    Former PPPL intern honored for outstanding machine learning poster

    The American Physical Society (APS) has recognized a former PPPL summer intern for producing an outstanding research poster at the world-wide APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) gathering last October. The student used machine learning to accelerate a leading PPPL computer code known as XGC.

    Team led by PPPL wins major supercomputer time to help capture on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars

    Team led by PPPL wins major supercomputer time to help capture on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars

    PPPL will use INCITE-award time on Summit and Theta supercomputers to develop predictions for the performance of ITER, the international experiment under construction to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy.

    Department of Energy Announces $625 Million for New Quantum Centers

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $625 million over the next five years to establish two to five multidisciplinary Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers in support of the National Quantum Initiative.

    Department of Energy to Provide $75 Million for Bioenergy Crops Research

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide up to $75 million over five years for research to develop sustainable bioenergy crops tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions.

    Jefferson Lab to be Major Partner in Electron Ion Collider Project

    Jefferson Lab to be Major Partner in Electron Ion Collider Project

    The Department of Energy announced that it has taken the next step toward construction of an Electron Ion Collider (EIC) in the United States. DOE announced on Thursday that the collider will be sited at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. In addition, DOE's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility will be a major partner in realizing the EIC, providing key support to build this next new collider, which will be the most advanced particle collider of its type ever built.

    Department of Energy Selects Site for Electron-Ion Collider

    Department of Energy Selects Site for Electron-Ion Collider

    UPTON, NY-- Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in New York as the site for building an Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), a one-of-a-kind nuclear physics research facility. This announcement, following DOE's approval of "mission need" (known as Critical Decision 0) on December 19, 2019, enables work to begin on R&D and the conceptual design for this next-generation collider at Brookhaven Lab.

    Department of Energy Announces $32 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) will award 158 grants totaling $32 million to 118 small businesses in 32 states. Funded through DOE's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, these selections are for Phase I research and development.

    Summit Charts a Course to Uncover the Origins of Genetic Diseases

    Summit Charts a Course to Uncover the Origins of Genetic Diseases

    Gene mutations can interfere with how the body expresses genes and cause disease. To better understand this connection, researchers recently developed a model of the transcription preinitiation complex (PIC).


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

    Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a widely applicable material, from magnetic tunnel junctions to solid oxide fuel cells. However, when it gets thin, its behavior changes for the worse. The reason why was not known. Now, using two theoretical methods, a team determined what happens.

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Shape affects how the particles fit together and, in turn, the resulting material. For the first time, a team observed the self-assembly of nanoparticles with tetrahedral shapes.

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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