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Preclinical Studies Show Promise for Novel Antibody Therapy to Treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
Date:12/10/2007

Unique monoclonal antibody successfully targets human leukemic stem cells

ATLANTA, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- CSL Limited, Australia's leading biopharmaceutical company, has today presented data at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 49th annual meeting, which demonstrate the promising pre-clinical activity of a novel monoclonal antibody, in the potential treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

AML is an aggressive cancer of white blood cells and most commonly occurs in adults. It is usually treated with chemotherapy but the cure rate in adults is only about 30%. About 9,000 deaths from AML occur each year in the United States(1). The novel antibody specifically targets the "core cell" of AML, called the leukemic stem cell (LSC) which was first identified in the laboratory of Professor John Dick, one of the key authors of the study(2). It is currently thought that the resistance of leukemic stem cells to chemotherapy is a major reason for the inability to cure most AML, and that improving the outlook for patients with AML will require elimination of these cells.

The antibody used in the research, called 7G3, was first created by Dr Angel Lopez at the Hanson Centre for Cancer Research in Adelaide, South Australia. It hones in on CD123 (IL-3 receptor alpha chain) on the surface of the LSC, blocking its function, growth and survival. CD123 is found on the surface of normal blood stem cells much less frequently, and 7G3 should therefore have no effect on normal blood cell development.

The research presented at the ASH meeting by key investigator Associate Professor Richard Lock of Children's Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research in Sydney, describes the results of treatment with 7G3 of irradiated immune-deficient mice with AML.

Two central experiments were undertaken; firstly human AML stem cells were treated with 7G3 and then injected into the mice, which were compared with a control group of mice injected with untr
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