November 23, 2017 |
Antibody Attacks Cancer Cells; Leaves Other Cells Unscathed
May 13, 2016  | 

Durham, NC - A research team from Duke Health has developed an antibody from the body’s own immune system that preferentially attacks cancer cells. The antibody works by targeting a natural defense mechanism that cancer tumors exploit.

Cells in the body essentially use a home security system that relies on certain proteins to protect the cell surface and keep it safe. These proteins help the cell avoid injury and even death from unwanted activation of the immune system.

In a paper published online May 5 in Cell Reports, the Duke team describes the workings of a cancer-fighting antibody they discovered, developed and tested in cell lines and animal models. The antibody dismantles a specific part of a cancer cell’s defense system and then employs several mechanisms of attack.

"This is the first completely human-derived antibody developed as an anti-cancer therapy, which is very different from other immunotherapy approaches,” said senior author Edward F. Patz, Jr., M.D., the James and Alice Chen Professor of Radiology and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke.

Patz and colleagues -- including principals from the Duke Human Vaccine Institute who have been advancing the development of antibodies for an HIV vaccine -- started with the observation that some lung cancer patients have early-stage tumors that never progress to advanced disease. Continue>

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