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Lombardi research: Monoclonal antibodies primed to become potent immune weapons against cancer
Date:3/20/2009

Washington, DC - 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.

"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 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 cance
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
215-514-9751
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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