Project Details Advances in immunochemistry and applications to human health

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
01 March 2011
End Date: 
17 October 2014


The field of immunochemistry is becoming increasingly important in different disease states with respect to the development of diagnostics and therapeutics. The objective is to compile present knowledge of the molecular basis of immunochemical interactions, to summarize the rapidly expanding applications in many health-related areas, and to critically discuss the upcoming research needs.


An earlier project titled “Immunochemistry of Metals” (1999-047-1-700) has been completed. Five resulting publications (PAC 76: 1255-1268 (2004), PAC 76: 1269-1281 (2004), PAC 78: 2155-2168 (2006), PAC 80: 1349-364 (2008) and PAC 81: 153-167 (2009)) have dealt with the molecular mechanisms of immune sensitization caused by metals, and a critical evaluation of the use of clinical tests potentially available for diagnosing specific metal allergies.

Another project titled “Glossary of Terms in Immunotoxicology” (2007-053-1-700) has also been initiated.

These projects are of importance especially to occupational and environmental health.

The present project will add important new aspects to IUPAC’s involvement in immunochemistry by describing advances in the understanding of chemical interactions between antigens and T-cell receptors (TCR) or immunoglobulins, and depicting how immunochemical applications presently improve and diversify medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Together with the outcomes of the applicants’ former projects, it will help to improve the image of chemistry in society by showing IUPAC’s concern for the safe design of chemicals for the benefit of humanity, and the potential of sound chemical applications of biological principles.

The project will deal with the following four aspects:

  1. Antibodies, antigens and their interactions
    – Antibodies and TCR: Structure, hypervariable region, idiotype, paratope.
    – Antigens: Macromolecules, haptens, metals, small molecules. Domains, epitope (linear, conformational), epitope mapping, epitope tag, specific motifs.
    – Interactions of antigens with antibody/TCR: Antigenic determinants, complementarity-determining region, mimitopes, functional epitopes, effects of chemical modifications.
    – Technical production: of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies.
  2. Application in Diagnostics:
    – Antibody labeling ELISA and Spot-ELISA in diagnostics. Immunocytochemistry and histochemistry in pathology. Immunoseparation and immunoelectrophoresis in biochemistry.
    – Biosensor detection systems in toxicology (drugs, toxicants, environmentally persistent chemicals, agents of chemical warfare).
  3. Application in Therapeutics:
    Principles of biosimilarity and new biological entity. Design and production of therapeutic antibodies and of cell-specific carriers. Applications to autoimmune-disease, tumors, allergies. Active/passive vaccination in cancer.
  4. Design and prediction of chemical affinities:
    Affinities and specificities of TCRs and antibodies, Epitope recognition patterns, protein-epitope mimetics, antibody libraries, engineered antibodies and fragments, in silico prediction of interactions used for design of therapeutic antibodies and for hazard characterization, computational chemistry etc.

The project is designed to facilitate the advancement of research in the chemical sciences and to serve the current educational needs of chemists and other scientists and thus should be of global interest.


July 2011 – project announcement published in Chem. Int. Jul-Aug, p. 18

Oct 2013 – 4 manuscripts have been prepared and submitted to Pure and Applied Chemistry. The manuscripts are in the revision process.

Oct 2014 – the 4 manuscripts, plus a preface, are all published in the October 2014 issue of PAC:

  • Immunochemical Recognition and Applications – Preface
    Douglas Templeton and Michael Schwenk
    PAC 86(10), pp. 1433-1434, DOI:10.1515/pac-2014-5053
  • Structural aspects of molecular recognition in the immune system. Part I: Acquired immunity (IUPAC Technical Report)
    PAC 86(10), pp. 1435-1481, DOI:10.1515/pac-2013-1020
  • Structural aspects of molecular recognition in the immune system. Part II: Pattern recognition receptors (IUPAC Technical Report)
    PAC 86(10), pp. 1483-1538, DOI:10.1515/pac-2013-1026
  • Immunodiagnostics and immunosensor design (IUPAC Technical Report)
    PAC 86(10), pp. 1539-1571, DOI:10.1515/pac-2013-1027
  • Applications of immunochemistry in human health: advances in vaccinology and antibody design (IUPAC Technical Report)
    PAC 86(10), pp. 1573-1617, DOI:10.1515/pac-2013-1028
Project completed – page last updated 17 Oct 2014