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New target for cancer therapy may improve treatment for solid tumors
Date:3/3/2008

rect impact on the cancerous cells but managed to kill stromal cells. This reduced tumor size and stopped the growth of tumors for more than 80 days.

Although targeting the stroma didn't eliminate all cancer cells, it did stop or slow the growth of well-established cancers after a single injection of T cells.

Such growth arrest in patients would be an admirable achievement for many cancers, the authors write, "and could also be used as an adjuvant to other therapies."

Tumor eradication is obviously preferable to tumor arrest, the authors note. "We can't target cancer cells when they have lost their antigen-presenting molecules, said co-author Bin Zhang, PhD, a former postdoctoral fellow in Schreiber's laboratory and now assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio. So stroma becomes an ideal alternative target for T cells."

One concern was that other, healthy cells in tissues like the spleen could also pick up the antigens and become a target for T cells, said Zhang. We did not see this," he added. "Only tumor-derived stromal cells appear to pick up and present tumor antigen.

The next step is to test this approach for melanoma, breast and colon cancer, Zhang said. We know that stromal cells often present tumor-antigen in these tumors, but have not yet performed T cell therapy on these mice.

They are also studying this approach for human cancers. Early results suggest that "this approach might be useful for the human situation as well, Zhang said.


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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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