Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Radioimmunotherapy: Promising treatment for HIV infection and viral cancers

Novel therapy presented in featured lecture at AAAS Annual Meeting

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have piggybacked antibodies onto radioactive payloads to deliver doses of radiation that selectively target and destroy microbial and HIV-infected cells.

The experimental treatment — called radioimmunotherapy, or RIT — holds promise for treating various infectious diseases, including HIV and cancers caused by viruses. The research was presented today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and the publishers of the journal Science.

The talk, part of the AAAS Topical Lecture Series, was delivered by Ekaterina Dadachova, Ph.D., a leading RIT researcher at Einstein. Dr. Dadachova is the Olnick Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research, as well as an associate professor of nuclear medicine and of microbiology & immunology at the College of Medicine.

RIT, which is currently used in cancer treatment, capitalizes on the fact that each type of antibody is programmed to seek out just one type of antigen in the body. Thus, by attaching radioactive material to a particular antibody, radiation can be targeted at specific cells that express the corresponding antigen, minimizing collateral damage to other tissues. This level of specificity is not possible with existing forms of radiation therapy.

RIT was originally developed as a therapy for cancer treatment and has been the most successful so far in treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that originates in cells of the immune system. Over the last few years, in collaboration with Dr. Arturo Casadevall, Chair and Forchheimer Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Einstein, Dr. Dadachova has adapted the technique for fighting fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. Drs. Dadachova and Casadevall performed these studies in conjunction with scientists at Einstein and NYU, and at the European Commission Joint Research Centre; the latter of which supplied some of the important radionuclides for arming the antibodies.

Since viruses are quite different from cancer cells, devising radioimmunotherapy for HIV posed significant challenges. Viruses are tiny bits of DNA or RNA wrapped in a thin protein coat. Simple, tough, and resilient, viruses easily shrug off radiation directed at them and can readily repair any damage that might occur. Complicating matters, HIV can hide in immune cells keeping the virus beyond the reach of antibodies.

"Our approach is not to target the virus particles themselves, but rather lymphocytes that harbor the virus," says Dr. Dadachova. "Fortunately, lymphocytes are among the most radiosensitive cells in the body."

The RIT devised by Einstein researchers consists of an antibody for glycoprotein 41 (gp41) and a radioactive isotope called Bismuth-213, bound together with a special molecule known as a ligand. The gp41 antibody was selected because its corresponding gp41 antigen is reliably expressed on the surface of cells infected with HIV. In addition, unlike other HIV-related glycoproteins, gp41 antigen usually is not shed into the bloodstream, which would lead many of radioactive-labeled antibodies to miss their target. Bismuth-213 was chosen because of several characteristics, including a half-life, or decay rate, of 46 minutes. Such a short half-life rate allows just enough time for the treatment to be administered and for the radioactive antibodies to do their job. After four hours, Bismuth-213 radioactivity falls to negligible levels.

Drs. Dadachova and Casadevall and their colleagues have demonstrated that the treatment can effectively eliminate HIV-infected human cells in both laboratory and animal studies, the latter involving two different models of mice with HIV. The team is now conducting pre-clinical testing of the therapy's efficacy and safety in preparation for a Phase I clinical trial in HIV-infected patients.

RIT also has potential as a therapy for cancers that are preceded by viral infections, such as cervical cancer (certain forms of which are associated with human papilloma virus) and hepatocellular carcinoma (associated with hepatitis B virus). Such cancers account for almost a quarter of all cancers. "Many virus-associated cancer cells continue to express viral antigens," Dr. Dadachova explains. "As these antigens are not found anywhere else in the body, RIT of viral cancers promises exquisite specificity of treatment and very low toxicity to the patient."

Michael Heller | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>