New Antibody for Cancer Treatment
03, Oct 2018
Prelims level : Mains level :
- A team of researchers in Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. has homed in on a specific antibody, called the p95HER2-T cell bispecific antibody (TCB), that can successfully guide immune cells, known as lymphocytes, directly to cancerous ones for their targeted killing.
- The immune system has the natural capacity to fight against disseminated disease. To do so more effectively, it must be better equipped to recognize and act against malignant cells. While bispecific antibodies are designed to do just that, they often signpost T cells to healthy ones.
- Among the key hurdles in cancer immunotherapy an emerging approach to cancer medicine is to ensure that these therapeutics only target cancerous cells and not healthy tissue.
- This direct delivery is achieved by p95HER2 protein, which is only located in tumour cells. Not only are they highly specific but they can also hone in on one protein among tens of thousands, in this particular case, p95HER2.
- The study represents a new therapeutic avenue and fresh hope for patients who have ceased to respond to current therapies.
- This novel immune-based approach, can be used to tackle certain HER2+ breast cancers through its exclusive targeting of cancerous cells.
- Each antibody molecule has a bipartite structure containing two protein-binding sites. This means that they can simultaneously attach to immune cells and cancerous ones as well as take the lymphocytes hand-in-hand directly to the malignant cells for their subsequent destruction.
- It is an important step towards ensuring that the immune system can successfully deliver its powerful anti-cancer blows.
- Approximately 10% of patients with HER2-positive breast cancers expressing p95HER2 could stand to benefit from this novel strategy who no longer responded to standard therapies.
- By more precisely matching novel therapy to a particular patient population, we are getting closer to delivering on the true promise of precision medicine.