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Antibody for brain tumors boosts survival in mice

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 02/16/2006

Antibody for brain tumors boosts survival in mice

Source: (
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BALTIMORE  Feb. 15, 2006  Treatment with an engineered antibody slowed the growth of a particularly hard-to-treat brain cancer, call glioma, producing tumor regression within the brain and prolonged survival in mice. The finding could be translated into human clinical trials as early as next year, say researchers.

The study led by Dr. Jin Kim of Galaxy Biotech, LLC in Mountain View, CA and Dr. John Laterra of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, appears today in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

"There is a tremendous need for advancement in the treatment of malignant brain tumors," Laterra said in a prepared statement. "These are the number one cancer killer of children under age 20 and a devastating diagnosis for adults as well. The results of this study bring us closer to developing an alternative treatment option for both adults and for pediatric patients, who are hardest hit by conventional therapies."

Gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors, and also one of the most complicated cancers to treat. Currently, treatment options such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are only marginally beneficial and present significant risks for patients, including loss of physical and cognitive abilities.

In the study, the researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a monoclonal antibody, L2G7, in treating human gliomas implanted in mouse models. A monoclonal antibody is engineered to target a specific protein, in this case, a protein that is more prevalent on the surface of cancerous glioma cells.

Results indicate that treatment with L2G7 halted the growth of the tumors when established under the skin of animals. Even more promising results were observed in mice with tumors implanted within the brain. In this setting, L2G7 not only induced tumor regression, but dramatically increased survival. Animals not treated all died within 41 days of starting the experiment. All mice treated with L2G7 survived through day 70, and 80 percent of the animals were alive at day 90, six weeks after stopping the L2G7 treatment.

L2G7 was developed by Kim's team to disrupt the function of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which is involved in multiple processes that promote cancer malignancy. HGF stimulates tumor cell division, tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell resistance to toxic agents such as chemotherapy and radiation.

In one experiment, the researchers delayed treatment of a subset of mice for 18 days to determine the effect of L2G7 on larger, more advanced tumors within the brain. At that time, the average tumor size was 26.7 mm, but following only three doses of L2G7, tumors shrank to 11.7 mm.

"Monoclonal antibodies (targeted) to growth factors or their receptors are playing an increasingly important role in cancer therapy," said Dr. Cary Queen, president of Galaxy Biotech. "Because of its specificity for HGF, L2G7 may prove to be particularly effective at halting tumor growth while minimizing side effects and harm to the surrounding healthy brain cells."

"Our company is committed to the clinical development of L2G7, and we hope to extend the current success of targeted antibody therapies in the treatment of breast, colon and lung cancer patients to the treatment of serious central nervous system malignancies such as gliomas," he added.
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