Antibodies, the workhorses of every living organisms immune system, are characterized by their extraordinarily high binding affinity and selectivity for a particular antigen. Despite numerous efforts to mimic these binding properties in synthetic molecules, chemists have so far not been able to produce adequate synthetic substitutes for antibodies. Problems associated with biodegradability and thermal stability (and also batch-to-batch variability) of (polyclonal) antibodies, however, prompt the quest for more robust and reliable alternatives. Are chemists able to circumvent the long and difficult pathway of biological evolution by making use of the synthetic tools at their disposal? This article summarizes recent activities in the field of combinatorial chemistry that promise more efficient strategies leading towards synthetic receptors with binding properties rivaling those of their natural counterparts.
|Publication status||Published - 1999|