Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Infectious Disease Researchers Develop Basis For Experimental Melanoma Treatment

Date:
December 8, 2006
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
While investigating a fungus known to cause an infection in people with AIDS, two grantees of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, unexpectedly discovered a potential strategy for treating metastatic melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. The treatment approach, which involves combining an antibody with radiation, has since been further developed and is expected to enter early-stage human clinical studies in 2007.

While investigating a fungus known to cause an infection in people with AIDS, two grantees of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), unexpectedly discovered a potential strategy for treating metastatic melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. The treatment approach, which involves combining an antibody with radiation, has since been further developed and is expected to enter early-stage human clinical studies in 2007.

Related Articles


"This is an excellent example of how scientific research in one discipline may have payoffs in a completely unpredictable way," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "This important AIDS-related research has led to the development of a promising therapeutic strategy for a terrible cancer that affects thousands of people each year."

Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, in New York City, and his research team began studying the biology of the skin pigment melanin to better understand why its synthesis plays a role in the process whereby certain yeast-like fungi, specifically Cryptococcus neoformans, cause disease in some people. C. neoformans can cause cryptococcosis, a potentially fatal fungal infection that can lead to inflammation of the brain and death in people with AIDS and other immunocompromised individuals.

The researchers created an infection-fighting antibody, known as a monoclonal antibody, that binds to melanin based on scientific evidence suggesting that when melanin is synthesized, it causes the immune system to react in a way that might create antibodies to fend off C. neoformans infection. Based on this finding, Dr. Casadevall theorized that melanomas might contain melanin that would allow the monoclonal antibody to deliver radiation to tumor cells. Dr. Casadevall then teamed with his colleague Ekaterina Dadachova, Ph.D., an expert in nuclear medicine and fellow NIAID grantee, to investigate whether the melanin-binding antibody could be converted into an anti-tumor drug.

In a study published in October 2004, Dr. Casadevall and Dr. Dadachova, the study's lead author, combined the C. neoformans monoclonal antibodies with radiation to create radiolabeled antibodies. They then tested these radiolabeled antibodies in mice to determine their effectiveness in attacking melanoma tumors. Initially, the mice had melanoma tumors ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 centimeters (cm) in diameter. After receiving a single dose of the radiolabeled antibodies, tumor growth was completely inhibited and near total tumor regression occurred in those animals with smaller tumors (0.6 to 0.7 cm in diameter). Further, the treated mice showed no signs of kidney or other organ damage and none died during the 30-day study. Conversely, tumors continued to aggressively grow in the untreated control group and by day 20, all but one of the eight untreated mice had died.

In November 2006, Pain Therapeutics, Inc., a San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company, licensed the radiolabeled monoclonal antibody technology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The company intends to begin testing it as a metastatic melanoma treatment in small human clinical trials in 2007. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma accounts for approximately five percent of all skin cancers but causes roughly 75 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths.

Dr. Casadevall credits his promising discovery to luck and a hunch that paid off. "Scientific breakthroughs often occur completely through serendipity, and this is just one of those instances," says Dr. Casadevall. "We're still working on cryptococcosis and developing a general strategy for using radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies to fight infectious diseases."

His laboratory continues to examine the underlying causes of cryptococcosis, and in continued collaboration with Dr. Dadachova, is exploring the use of radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies to treat infectious diseases.

For more information about melanoma, see the National Cancer Institute Web site at: http://www.cancer.gov/.

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)--The Nation's Medical Research Agency--includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

Reference: E Dadachova et al. Dead cells in melanoma tumors provide abundant antigen for targeted delivery of ionizing radiation by a mAb to melanin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0406180101 (2004).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Infectious Disease Researchers Develop Basis For Experimental Melanoma Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061208101603.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2006, December 8). Infectious Disease Researchers Develop Basis For Experimental Melanoma Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061208101603.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Infectious Disease Researchers Develop Basis For Experimental Melanoma Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061208101603.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins