Cancer treatment is first to directly target tumor blood vessels in patients

19-Feb-2007

A clinical trial has for the first time proven that an antibody called J591 specifically targets an antigen found in high amounts on both prostate tumors and on blood vessels of all solid tumors, according to a study by medical researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Since the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) exists only on tumors and not other tissues, J591 armed with a drug or radiation offers a way to selectively target cancer while leaving healthy tissues unharmed, thereby resulting in very low levels of toxicity and fewer side effects for patients.

While the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was designed to prove that J591 could exclusively target tumors (it did not try to reduce tumor size), researchers now have a vehicle for selectively transporting drugs or a radioactive isotope to destroy the blood vessels that feed tumors, thereby cutting off the cancer's blood supply.

"This was a proof-of-principle study designed purely to confirm that we could successfully target tumor vasculature without targeting normal tissue," said the study's senior author, Dr. Neil H. Bander, a urological cancer specialist at the medical center and the Bernard and Josephine Chaus Professor of Urological Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Now that we have confirmed specific and accurate targeting, in subsequent studies we will arm the J591 antibody with drugs or radioactivity, and then we will assess tumor response. We are already using such armed antibodies in patients with prostate cancer and have been able to show significant anti-tumor activity."

The research team used a radioactive tracer, attached to the antibody, to follow J591's progress throughout the body. The trial 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.

Other researchers are also developing drugs that indirectly starve tumors of blood by reducing the growth of new blood vessels. But, such therapies are less effective against more advanced tumors with established blood vessels. By directly targeting tumor blood vessels, however, J591 treatments could destroy the tumor's blood supply and shrink even advanced tumors.

Other news from the department science

Most read news

More news from our other portals

Fighting cancer: latest developments and advances

See the theme worlds for related content

Topic world Antibodies

Antibodies are specialized molecules of our immune system that can specifically recognize and neutralize pathogens or foreign substances. Antibody research in biotech and pharma has recognized this natural defense potential and is working intensively to make it therapeutically useful. From monoclonal antibodies used against cancer or autoimmune diseases to antibody-drug conjugates that specifically transport drugs to disease cells - the possibilities are enormous

View topic world
Topic world Antibodies

Topic world Antibodies

Antibodies are specialized molecules of our immune system that can specifically recognize and neutralize pathogens or foreign substances. Antibody research in biotech and pharma has recognized this natural defense potential and is working intensively to make it therapeutically useful. From monoclonal antibodies used against cancer or autoimmune diseases to antibody-drug conjugates that specifically transport drugs to disease cells - the possibilities are enormous