Alpacas and their role in medicine

Life & Health

Alpacas aren’t just cute, furry farm animals – they are also part of new medical research.

Alpacas may be coveted for their wool and maybe their personalities but according to some researchers what’s in their blood may prove to be more valuable.

Brian Wadzinski with Vanderbilt University says, “Turns out that alpacas and other members of the camel family, old-world camels, and llamas, have a very unique form of antibody.”

They have a heavy-chain-only antibody, which means it is easier to extract and isolate a fragment of that antibody.

Benjamin Spiller with Vanderbilt University says, “It sort of enables the study of new diseases as they are being understood to be related to specific mutations.”

Such as Jordan’s Syndrome, which affects about 100 kids worldwide. The team is using the alpaca antibodies to visualize and potentially regulate the gene product P-P-P-2-R-5-D, which is linked to the condition.

Wadzinski says, “Patients that have this syndrome known as Jordan’s Syndrome, they are characterized both with intellectual disability, a large head, low muscle tone.”

The same gene that is linked to Jordan’s Syndrome is also linked to autism, Alzheimer’s, and some forms of cancers. The team says with a quick blood sample from the alpacas they have…

Wadzinski adds, “A plethora of different tools to be able to study. this will increase our understanding and hopefully pave the way for future development of treatments.”

Earlier this year, the first drug to use antibodies from the species camelid which include camels, llamas, and alpacas, gained FDA approval.

It is used to treat a rare blood clotting disorder called TTP.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Special Olympics: Athlete Spotlight

Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition"

Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing"

Special Olympics Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Basketball"

Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games"

Special Olympics: Downhill Ski

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics: Downhill Ski"

Special Olympics Figure Skating

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Figure Skating"

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Thumbnail for the video titled "Polar Plunge for Special Olympics"

Latest News Video

GAME OF THE WEEK: Negaunee tops Westwood in Mid-Pen clash; Leece reaches 1k

Thumbnail for the video titled "GAME OF THE WEEK: Negaunee tops Westwood in Mid-Pen clash; Leece reaches 1k"

Precious Metals 2-21-2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Precious Metals 2-21-2020"

Stocks 2-21-2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Stocks 2-21-2020"

LOCAL 3 SUNDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/23/2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "LOCAL 3 SUNDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/23/2020"

LOCAL 3 SATURDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/22/2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "LOCAL 3 SATURDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/22/2020"

LOCAL 3 FRIDAY OVERNIGHT WEATHER FORECAST 2/21/2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "LOCAL 3 FRIDAY OVERNIGHT WEATHER FORECAST 2/21/2020"