Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Monoclonal Antibodies Primed To Become Potent Immune Weapons Against Cancer

Date:
March 26, 2009
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
New research suggests that monoclonal antibody therapy of cancer can be improved to be much more powerful than it is today.

New research suggests that monoclonal antibody therapy of cancer can be improved to be much more powerful than it is today, says a researcher at Georgetown University Medical Center's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in the March 21 issue of The Lancet.

Related Articles


"We believe that antibody therapy has the capacity to immunize people against cancer," says Louis Weiner, MD, director of the cancer center at GUMC and an internationally recognized expert in development and use of monoclonal antibodies. "Treatment modifications might be able to prolong, amplify, and shape a continuous immune response to cancer cells."

Weiner was asked by The Lancet editors to write a review article discussing the newest research in this field. His co-authors are Madhav Dhodapkar, MD, of Yale University and Soldano Ferrone, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh.

Their analysis, based on reviewing the last eight years of research on monoclonal antibody treatment, suggests that a new era in use of these therapies is just around the corner. "Scientists have been able to use new tools to measure effectiveness of these therapies, and have found that antibodies are capable of stimulating the immune system in ways that had not been appreciated to date, and which we can now take advantage of," Weiner says.

Antibodies are immune system proteins that seek out and neutralize molecules they recognize as foreign to a body, such as viruses and bacteria. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins crafted in a laboratory to recognize specific receptors, or antigens, on cancer cells; some antigens promote uncontrolled growth. These antibodies are designed to both attach to cancer receptors to inhibit their function and to alert and activate the immune system to the presence of these receptor proteins.

Monoclonal antibodies already offer effective treatment for a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer (Herceptin®, Avastin®), colorectal cancer (Erbitux®, Avastin), lung cancer (Avastin), and blood cancers (Rituxan®, Campath®), but they have appeared to primarily work by forcing tumor related receptors to shut down pro-growth signals, Weiner says.

"For years it has been presumed that the ability of antibodies to interfere with malignant cell-related signaling is the dominant mechanism of anticancer activity, but we have also known that the normal job of an antibody is to deliver an antigen to the body's immune system which then destroys the target," Weiner says.

Recent research by Weiner and others, however, now shows that antibodies can inhibit function not only as signaling manipulators but also as initiators of immune responses that leads to control of cancer, the authors say.

"We believe that Herceptin and Rituxan, as examples, work in part by immunizing people against cancer, but at this point, the magnitude of that response is variable and is frequently very small," Weiner says.

Scientists now believe that it will be possible to alter the antibodies so that they induce both kinds of human immunity – the innate immune response that is short-lasting and which directly kills tumor cells, and a long-lasting "memory" response that comes from the adaptive immune response. "We have long thought that monoclonal antibodies are capable of stimulating the innate immune system, but we now have evidence that the therapy can prime an adaptive response as well. Such responses would make the treatment much more powerful, capable of keeping cancer under control," he says.

"For the first time we are using technology that can measure the immune response that is occurring in monoclonal antibody treatment, and which will help us build better antibodies that amplify and shape that immune response to become more powerful," Weiner says.

And in the future, it may be possible to build antibodies that are targeted to existing targets on a patient's tumor, as well as to targets that may appear as the cancer mutates. "This one-two punch would anticipate how the tumor changes over time and cut off the cancer's escape route," Weiner says. "These new directions are very exciting."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Monoclonal Antibodies Primed To Become Potent Immune Weapons Against Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090320102128.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2009, March 26). Monoclonal Antibodies Primed To Become Potent Immune Weapons Against Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090320102128.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Monoclonal Antibodies Primed To Become Potent Immune Weapons Against Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090320102128.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. 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