Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New monoclonal antibody developed that can target proteins inside cancer cells

Researchers have discovered a unique monoclonal antibody that can effectively reach inside a cancer cell, a key goal for these important anticancer agents, since most proteins that cause cancer or are associated with cancer are buried inside cancer cells.

Scientists from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Eureka Therapeutics have collaborated to create the new human monoclonal antibody, which targets a protein associated with many types of cancer and is of great interest to cancer researchers.

Unlike other human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, which can target only proteins that remain on the outside of cancer cells, the new monoclonal antibody, called ESK1, targets a protein that resides on the inside of the cell.

ESK1 is directed at a protein called WT1, which is overexpressed in a range of leukemias and other cancers including myeloma and breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers. WT1 is a high priority target for cancer drugs because it is an oncogenic protein, meaning that it supports the formation of cancer. In addition, it is found in few healthy cells, so there are less likely to be side effects from drugs that target it.

"This is a new approach for attacking WT1, an important cancer target, with an antibody therapy. This is something that was previously not possible," said David A. Scheinberg, MD, PhD, Chair of the Sloan-Kettering Institute's Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program and an inventor of the antibody. "There has not been a way to make small molecule drugs that can inhibit WT1 function. Our research shows that you can use a monoclonal antibody to recognize a cancer-associated protein inside a cell, and it will destroy the cell."

The first studies of the antibody are showing promise in preclinical research as a treatment for leukemia as reported March 13, 2013, in Science Translational Medicine.

"ESK1 represents a paradigm change for the field of human monoclonal antibody therapeutics," said Cheng Liu, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eureka Therapeutics. "This research suggests that human antibody therapy is no longer limited to targeting proteins present outside cancer cells, but can now target proteins within the cancer cell itself."

ESK1 was engineered to mimic the functions of a T cell receptor, a key component of the immune system. T cells have a receptor system that is designed to recognize proteins that are inside the cell. As proteins inside the cell get broken down as part of regular cellular processes, molecules known as HLA molecules carry fragments of those proteins — known as peptides — to the surface. When T cells recognize certain peptides as abnormal, the T cell kills the diseased cell.

In the current study, the investigators showed that ESK1 alone was able to recognize WT1 peptides and kill cancer cells in the test tube and also in mouse models for two different types of human leukemia. "We were surprised that the antibody worked so well on its own," said Dr. Scheinberg, senior author of the paper. "We had originally expected that we might need to use the antibody as a carrier to deliver a drug or a radioactive therapy to kill the cancer cells, but this was not necessary."

Additional studies must be done in the laboratory before ESK1 is ready to be tested in patients. But the monoclonal antibody was engineered to be fully human, which should speed the time it takes to move the drug into the clinic. Researchers expect that the first clinical trials, for leukemia, could begin in about a year.

The antibody was developed under a collaborative effort between Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Eureka, which have jointly filed for patent protection.

This work was supported by grants from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Sloan-Kettering Institute's Experimental Therapeutics Center and Technology Development Fund, the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research, the Tudor and Glades Foundations, the Merker Fund, the Lymphoma Foundation, and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

About Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer. Our scientists and clinicians generate innovative approaches to better understand, diagnose, and treat cancer. Our specialists are leaders in biomedical research and in translating the latest research to advance the standard of cancer care worldwide. For more information, go to

About Eureka Therapeutics

Eureka Therapeutics is a privately held biotechnology company located in the San Francisco Bay Area, focused on the discovery of fully-human antibody drugs for the treatment of cancer. Utilizing its antibody drug discovery and engineering technologies, Eureka is advancing safe and effective therapies for targeting previously inaccessible cancer antigens. The company has built an early stage pipeline of innovative drugs, with the most advanced candidate at pre-clinical stage in collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. For more information about Eureka Therapeutics, please visit:

Caitlin Hool | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>