In addition to producing antibodies against foreign molecules, the immune system generates antibodies to self-antigens (“autoantibodies”) in response to many pathological processes. Autoantibodies have several properties which make them excellent indicators of disease and their detection forms the basis of many in vitro diagnostic tests. It is believed that autoantibodies are generated through over-expression, mutation, release of proteins from damaged tissues, mis-folding or mis-presentation of proteins which leads to their recognition by the immune system.
Unlike other serological targets, autoantibodies are stable, highly specific, easily purified from serum, and are readily detectable with well-validated secondary reagents. Due to their inherent amplification within the immune system, autoantibodies are relatively abundant and are easily measured, making them ideal for early diagnosis of disease. The Sengenics Immunome protein array has been successfully used to identify predictive, pathologic and protective biomarkers for cancers, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.