Note in Science page
Created Mar 27 12, Updated Mar 27 12 17:37
One drug to fight all tumors? go to comments

A new drug can destroy most human tumors … in mice!

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine developed a drug that stimulates the immune system to recognize the cancer cells as invaders (and ~prevents blood circulating cancer cells to form metastasis). The drug – an antibody“de-activates” a protein flagCD47on the cancer cells that protects them from the immune system.


The drug target: CD47 © wikipedia.org

A single drug can shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice.

The antibody works by masking a protein flag [CD47] on [blood circulating!?] cancer cells that protects [‘don’t-eat-me’ signal] them from macrophages and other cells in the immune system.

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.

If I understand well, CD47 is only needed – for survival – by blood circulating cells. The drug will therefore “attack” circulating cancer cells first, likely preventing the formation of metastasis, by making them visible to the immune system. The immune system, once “primed”, might target its attention to the bulk of the solid tumor. But what about toxicity to regular blood circulating cells!? and are there other “don’t eat me” signals that a tumor could use?

sciencemag article

sciencedaily article

medicalxpress article

stanford press article

The CD47-signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPa) interaction is a therapeutic target for human solid tumors (PNAS original publication 2)

Antibody therapy targeting the CD47 protein is effective in a model of aggressive metastatic leiomyosarcoma (PNAS original publication 1)


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