Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New immune therapy successfully treats brain tumors in mice

Date:
December 17, 2012
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Using an artificial protein that stimulates the body's natural immune system to fight cancer, a research team has engineered a lethal weapon that kills brain tumors in mice while sparing other tissue. If it can be shown to work in humans, it would overcome a major obstacle that has hampered the effectiveness of immune-based therapies.

Engineered to specifically link with the body’s immune fighters (T-cells) on one side, and a cancer cell on the other, the bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) serves as a connector that tethers cancer to its killer.
Credit: Duke Medicine

Using an artificial protein that stimulates the body's natural immune system to fight cancer, a research team at Duke Medicine has engineered a lethal weapon that kills brain tumors in mice while sparing other tissue. If it can be shown to work in humans, it would overcome a major obstacle that has hampered the effectiveness of immune-based therapies.

The protein is manufactured with two arms -- one that exclusively binds to tumor cells and another that snags the body's fighter T-cells, spurring an attack on the tumor. In six out of eight mice with brain tumors, the treatment resulted in cures, according to findings published Dec. 17, 2012, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This work represents a revival of a somewhat old concept that targeting cancer with tumor-specific antigens may well be the most effective way to treat cancer without toxicity," said senior author John H. Sampson, M.D., PhD, a neurosurgeon at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. "But there have been problems with that approach, especially for brain tumors. Our therapeutic agent is exciting, because it acts like Velcro to bind T-cells to tumor cells and induces them to kill without any negative effects on surrounding normal tissues."

Sampson and colleagues focused on the immune approach in brain tumors, which are notoriously difficult to treat. Despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, glioblastomas are universally fatal, with a median survival of 15 months.

Immunotherapies, in which the body's B-cells and T-cells are triggered to attack tumors, have shown promise in treating brain and other cancers, but have been problematic in clinical use. Treatments have been difficult to administer at therapeutic doses, or have spurred side effects in which the immune system also attacks healthy tissue and organs.

Working to overcome those pitfalls, the Duke-led researchers designed a kind of connector -- an artificial protein called a bispecific T-cell engager, or BiTE -- that tethers the tumor to its killer. Their newly engineered protein includes fractions of two separate antibodies, one that recruits and engages the body's fighter T-cells and one that expressly homes in on an antigen known as EGFRvIII, which only occurs in cancers.

Once connected via the new bispecific antibody, the T-cells recognize the tumor as an invader, and mount an attack. Normal tissue, which does not carry the tumor antigen, is left unscathed.

"One of the major advantages is that this therapy can be given intravenously, crossing the blood-brain barrier," said lead author Bryan Choi, a dual M.D-PhD candidate at Duke. "When we gave the therapy systemically to the mice, it successfully localized to the tumors, treating even bulky and invasive tumors in the central nervous system."

The team also developed an antidote to other current immune-targeting therapies that have a toxic effect, enhancing their safety profiles and bolstering their effectiveness.

"Additional studies will concentrate on whether these findings can be replicated in human trials, and whether the treatment is affected by the use of current therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy," Sampson said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Bryan D. Choi, Chien-Tsun Kuan, Mingqing Cai, Gary E. Archer, Duane A. Mitchell, Patrick C. Gedeon, Luis Sanchez-Perez, Ira Pastan, Darell D. Bigner, and John H. Sampson. Systemic administration of a bispecific antibody targeting EGFRvIII successfully treats intracerebral glioma. PNAS, December 17, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1219817110

Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "New immune therapy successfully treats brain tumors in mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217152641.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2012, December 17). New immune therapy successfully treats brain tumors in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217152641.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "New immune therapy successfully treats brain tumors in mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217152641.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) — Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) — The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Care Workers 'Chasing' Ebola Outbreak

Health Care Workers 'Chasing' Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 12, 2014) — The worst known Ebola outbreak is proving extremely difficult to contain. Hospitals are full, and victims of the virus are suffering in the streets. 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:
from the past week

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