Canary camels, source of life

Víctor García Tagua, researcher at the University of La Laguna (ULL)

Víctor García Tagua, researcher at the University of La Laguna (ULL)

A group of researchers studies a system to generate in cmini canaries and nanoantibodies capable of detecting the Klotho protein, which has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and it is protective against neurodegenerative, renal and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

Victor Garcia Tagua, a researcher at the University of La Laguna (ULL) who heads the study, sums it up like this in an interview with Efe: Canarian camels keep in their blood “a secret that can revolutionize the world of biomedicine ” because, like the rest of camelids (dromedaries, llamas and the like) and sharks, they have the so-called mini-antibodies in their blood.

This substance also protects against neurodegenerative and cardiovascular ailments

As their name indicates, they are up to ten times smaller than antibodies – the molecules that identify and neutralize foreign elements, antigens – and from these mini-antibodies, nanoantibodies can be synthesized, much smaller in size, capable of reaching nooks and crannies of the cells. molecules that are not recognized by larger antibodies, thus increasing their effectiveness.

There are already various applications of these mini and nanoantibodies in the field of biomedicine and biotechnology for the development of biosensors or for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Canarian camels in Fuerteventura. Tato Gonçalves

In fact, they have been developed in the last year various treatments against the SARS-CoV coronavirus-2, the cause of covid-19, based on these molecules obtained in camelids, says the researcher, who has published an article about this study in the magazine “Hypothesis Magazine” of the ULL.

García Tagua emphasizes that in his studies on Klotho protein He found that an effective way to detect it was lacking, until he recalled that during his stay in Seville for his thesis he heard a researcher who used camels to obtain antibodies with which to find proteins.

And then he realized that, despite the potential of the Canary Islands in this field, with an autochthonous breed of camelid and where the largest number of specimens are in Spain, with about a thousand dromedaries, there is hardly any investigation between the CNB-CSIC and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC).


Although in the Canary Islands they are traditionally known as camels, the camelids that live on the islands are really dromedaries, with only one hump, points out García Tagua.

He indicates that in his research he studies the protective capacity of the Kloto protein against kidney and cardiovascular diseases.

A vet from Gran Canaria, Yeray Brito, will collaborate with the research to begin in summer with the extraction of blood from the camels, once the experimentation protocol is ratified, totally respectful with the animals because only a small amount will be needed and it will be done in their environment, without causing stress to the animal .

The Klotho protein is produced mainly in the kidney and its levels decrease as we age, reaching its lowest levels in elderly people, chronic kidney disease or with cardiovascular problems, such as atherosclerosis.

For this reason, the project consists of developing a system with which to generate mini and nanoantibodies in Canary camels that allow the detection of protein and its different forms in tissues or blood or urine samples and that serve as a basis for preventing kidney and cardiovascular diseases, the main causes of death in the population.

Scientists speak of “a secret that can revolutionize biomedicine”

“But the best thing about all this is that not only will we be able to have antibodies against Klotho, but developing this method in the Canary Islands can provide us with tools for the diagnosis of other diseases, since it can be used and generate mini and nanoantibodies against almost any molecule that we want and place our region at the forefront of biomedical research “, emphasizes Víctor García Tagua.

The researcher, who specifies that Klotho also regulates phosphorus levels in the blood, among others, emphasizes: “The dromedaries came to the islands to help us in the field and maybe in the end, they will help us heal.”


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