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Stripping leukemia-initiating cells of their 'invisibility cloak'
Date:7/23/2009

nted them from taking hold in mice. Anti-CD47 treatment of mice with human leukemia also cleared the animals of their disease. The results suggest that the CD47 antibodies, perhaps in combination with others, might serve as the first targeted therapy for AML.

"AML is treated today with high dose chemotherapy and in many cases bone marrow transplants," said Majeti, who is a clinical hematologist. "The truth is that the overall survival is really dismal," with 30 to 40 percent of patients surviving at five years. The situation for those over the age of 65 can be much worse, and, he noted, the disease is one that principally affects the elderly. There is therefore an urgent need to develop novel therapeutic agents with less toxicity, and the antibody therapy might fit the bill, he said.

In addition to the potential for a new antibody-based therapy, the ability to differentiate between leukemia and normal stem cells based on their CD47 levels suggests other alternatives as well. For instance, patients could be treated with very strong chemotherapies or radiation and then rescued with their own purified normal stem cells.

The findings in leukemia may prove relevant to other forms of cancer as well, Weissman said, as they are also known to express CD47. Indeed, Jaiswal noted, CD47 was first described as an ovarian cancer marker.


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Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

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