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Experimental antibody shows early promise for treatment of childhood tumor
Date:5/8/2014

Tumors shrank or disappeared and disease progression was temporarily halted in 15 children with advanced neuroblastoma enrolled in a safety study of an experimental antibody produced at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Four patients are still alive after more than two-and-a-half years and without additional treatment.

Findings from the Phase I study were published recently online and will appear in the May 10 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The results prompted St. Jude to expand clinical trials of the monoclonal antibody hu14.18K322A to include patients newly diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Monoclonal antibodies are engineered in the laboratory to recognize and attach to specific markers carried on the cell surface.

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in the first year of life and accounts for 7 to 10 percent of childhood cancers. While certain patients, particularly infants, enjoy cure rates of 90 percent or better, the outlook is worse for high-risk patients, including those whose disease has spread widely. New treatments are urgently needed for these patients, less than half of whom currently enjoy long-term, disease-free survival.

"This was the first time this experimental antibody was tried in patients. We were encouraged with the response," said first and corresponding author Fariba Navid, M.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Oncology. "The percentage of patients who benefited from treatment with hu14.18K322A was unusual for a Phase I study."

Phase I studies focus on questions related to the safety and best dose of experimental therapies. The research involves patient volunteers whose cancer has returned or did not respond to standard treatment, which for neuroblastoma includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants.

In this study, 38 St. Jude patients received one of nine different
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Contact: Summer Freeman
summer.freeman@stjude.org
901-595-3061
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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