Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antibody therapy can increase the effectiveness of cancer vaccine, early studys

02.04.2003


The benefit of some cancer vaccines may be boosted by treating patients with an antibody that blocks a key protein on immune system T cells, according to a small, preliminary study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.



The study, to be published online on April 1 in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (www.pnas.org), tested the effect of a single injection of the antibody MDX-CTLA4 in nine patients who had previously been treated with cancer vaccines for either metastatic melanoma or metastatic ovarian cancer. The result, in every patient who had received a particular kind of vaccine, was widespread death of cancer cells and an increase in the number of immune system cells within the tumors – evidence of a potent immune system attack.

"This study makes a strong case that combined immunotherapy – consisting of a vaccine and antibodies – can elicit a potent immune response to some types of tumors in patients," says the study’s senior author, Glenn Dranoff, MD, of Dana-Farber.


The technique was inspired by the laboratory work of study co-author James Allison, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, Berkeley. He and his colleagues discovered that a protein, or antigen, called CTLA-4 on T cells restrains the immune system from attacking cancer cells. In a series of laboratory and animal experiments, Allison’s team showed that combining a cancer vaccine with an antibody able to block CTLA-4 resulted in an especially potent immune attack on tumors.

On the basis of those findings, Dranoff and his colleagues launched a Phase I clinical trial of the technique in a small group of patients. Because animal experiments had indicated that giving MDX-CTLA4 in combination with a vaccine might prompt the immune system to attack some normal cells, researchers decided to give the antibody to patients who had already been vaccinated.

Seven of the study participants had metastatic melanoma, a potentially fatal cancer that originates in skin cells, and two had metastatic ovarian cancer. In all three melanoma patients who had been treated with one form of vaccine, tumors showed extensive signs of cell death and were saturated with large numbers of tumor-fighting immune cells. The same results were seen in the two ovarian cancer patients who had been treated with the same type of vaccine. (The vaccine is created by loading tumor cells with a gene called GM-CSF that alerts the immune system to the tumors’ presence, prompting an anti-tumor attack.)

Of the four melanoma patients who had received a different type of vaccine based on melanoma antigens, none experienced a similar benefit, researchers found.

While none of the study participants had serious reactions to the antibody itself, some of the melanoma patients developed a mild immune reaction against normal skin cells called melanocytes, but it was not a dangerous side effect.

Previous clinical trials have shown that vaccines can be at least temporarily effective in treating metastatic melanoma and ovarian cancer, but most patients eventually succumb to their disease. One of the reasons for this may be that the CTLA-4 molecule gradually weakens the immune system’s ability to recognize and respond to tumor cells.

"By blockading CTLA-4 with antibodies, we had hoped to strengthen the immune response produced by cancer vaccines," remarks Dranoff, who is also an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society clinical scholar. "Work in the laboratory and in animal models suggested that this approach could be effective. The new study offers the first evidence that the technique has promise in human patients, although much more study will be needed to demonstrate that this is the case."

The study’s lead author is Stephen Hodi, MD, of Dana-Farber. Other co-authors were from Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, and Mederex, Inc.



###
Funding for the research was provided in part by the Berlex Oncology Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Cancer Research Institute, and Mederex, Inc.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute.

Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dfci.harvard.edu/
http://www.pnas.org),

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>