Anti-Cancer Antibody Discovered
Stanford researchers have discovered a single antibody that shrinks many cancerous tumors, some to the point of eradication
Human tumors transplanted into laboratory mice disappeared or shrank when scientists treated the animals with a single antibody, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The antibody works by masking a protein flag on cancer cells that protects them from macrophages and other cells in the immune system. The scientists achieved the findings with human breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate cancer samples.
It is the first antibody treatment shown to be broadly effective against a variety of human solid tumors, and the dramatic response — including some overt cures in the laboratory animals — has the investigators eager to begin phase-1 and –2 human clinical trials within the next two years.
“Blocking this ‘don’t-eat-me’ signal inhibits the growth in mice of nearly every human cancer we tested, with minimal toxicity,” said professor of pathologyIrving Weissman, MD, who directs Stanford’s Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research and Medicine at Stanford. “This shows conclusively that this protein, CD47, is a legitimate and promising target for human cancer therapy.”
The antibody treatment also significantly inhibited the ability of the tumors to metastasize throughout the animals’ bodies.
It’s actually a very elegant solution, just remove the cancer cells’ ability to hide from the person’s own immune system, and let that immune system take care of business on its own.
It’ll be quite a while before this is available for cancer patients, but it looks like a light at the end of the tunnel.