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First Treatment to Directly Target Tumor Blood Supply

For the first time, physician-scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City have demonstrated// in patients the ability of an antibody to directly target the blood supply of a wide variety of tumors, leaving healthy tissues unharmed.

The Phase I clinical trial tested an antibody called J591, targeted to the prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA).

PSMA has been an attractive target for cancer drug development because it is not only present in high amounts in prostate cancers but it also is the only known molecular target present on tumor blood vessels but not normal blood vessels. The ability to target PSMA on blood vessels would provide a way to directly attack a tumor’s blood supply without affecting normal blood vessels.

"Anti-angiogenic" cancer therapies that focus on the tumor's blood supply are not new. However, other such treatments starve tumors of their blood supply indirectly, by reducing blood vessel growth signals. J591 may work in a new way, taking anti-angiogenic therapy to the next level by directly targeting PSMA on the cells of the tumor blood vessels and then zooming in for the kill.

The trial, which appears in the Feb. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 27 cancer patients with a wide range of solid tumors -- including kidney, bladder, lung, breast, colorectal, pancreas and melanoma. All patients had widespread disease that had failed conventional treatments.

"Prior to this trial, we had laboratory data that indicated PSMA was present on tumor but not normal blood vessels," explains the study's senior author, Dr. Neil H. Bander, a urological cancer specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and the Bernard and Josephine Chaus Professor of Urological Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "We hypothesized that we could use an antibody to PSMA to specifically target tumor blood supply. This was a proof-of-principle t
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