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Targeted immunotherapy shows promise for metastatic breast, pancreatic cancers
Date:6/1/2010

CHICAGO Early trials using targeted monoclonal antibodies in combination with existing therapies show promise in treating pancreatic cancer and metastatic breast cancer, according to research that will be presented by investigators from the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center at the 2010 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology June 4 through 8. One study uses an antibody to enhance the effectiveness of a breast cancer vaccine developed at Penn to treat women with advanced breast cancer, while a pancreatic cancer trial uses an immune-enhancing antibody to increase the effectiveness of a current standard drug used to treat pancreatic cancer.

In the first new study, investigators used an antibody previously approved by the FDA to enhance the effectiveness of a therapeutic vaccine for women with advanced breast cancers. ("Phase I study of anti-CD25 mAb daclizumab to deplete regulatory T cells prior to telomerase/survivin peptide vaccination in patients with metastatic breast cancer" -- Oral Abstract #2508) The antibody, known as anti-CD25 mAb dacluzimab, targets T regulatory cells (Tregs), naturally occurring cells which tumors harness to dampen the body's normal immune response. Until now, these cells have represented an obstacle to cancer immunotherapy. The Penn Medicine team's approach uses the antibody to turn off the Treg cells' function in the immune system and boosting the effectiveness of a telomerase/survivin peptide vaccine made to tackle the cancer.

The study demonstrated that a single infusion of the antibody given a week before patients received the vaccine results in "rapid, marked and prolonged" loss of Tregs without toxicity in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Six of the 10 patients who received the treatment exhibited a stabilization of their disease. Data for overall survival is not yet available, but the Penn researchers say the results represent significant promise for treating the patient
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Contact: Kim Guenther
kim.guenther@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2312
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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