May 03 2021

Life in the Time of Corona(virus) – Day 412

by at 7:15 am under Uncategorized

What a beautiful weekend! It was a real BellRinger. At the time of my writing this blog, I don’t know this week’s rider numbers (though I have raised $13,626), but we finished setting up Harriet’s new bike and went out for a short ride on Sunday in the neighborhood. I rode a bike that my son-in-law Ben loaned me as I wait for my new bike to be delivered. Though I raised the seat up, the bike frame is way too small for me, so I rode around looking a bit like a clown in the circus. But, it was a start.

This week I will be forming my team for the BellRinger ride. If you have not formed a team or are looking for one, join me! Lou’s BiKEs Team has a double meaning. A few years ago, Dan Vallera, a colleague from the University of Minnesota, wanted to create a new type of bispecific antibody that targets both cancer cells and human natural killer cells through the activating receptor Fc-gamma R3, also known as CD16. He turned to me because we had developed and clinically tested the very first bispecific antibody targeting both cancer cells and CD16-expressing human natural killer cells. He knew that we also had previously isolated a single-chain Fv antibody fragment that targets CD16, and had used it to create our own bispecific structure known as a trimeric, bispecific antibody that targeted the breast cancer antigen HER2/neu and CD16; we called this structure a TriBi, and had published our results in 2004. Dan and his colleagues used this CD16 construct to create a bispecific killer engager (i.e., a BiKE) and a trispecific variant known as a TRiKE. Both have undergone clinical development. So, I have some experience in exploiting the power of BiKEs to end cancer by engaging the power of the body’s immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells. While TRiKEs are promising, they are not fast enough to cover 50 or 100 miles in October.  Lou’s BiKE Team will build on that symbolism one rider and one mile at a time. Join me!

I am increasingly optimistic that we’ll have no pandemic-related limitations by October. In fact, I look forward to the upcoming gradual relaxation of restrictions on our research operations over the next few months. I cannot wait, and will bet that you can’t either. However, please take care to observe all necessary precautions to assure our mutual safety.

Be well.



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