U of S ‘assassin antibody’ shows promise in killing cancer

In Clinical Trials by Barbara Jacoby

By: Chris Vandenbreekel

From: .cjme.com

A promising research breakthrough at the University of Saskatchewan could end up being a cure for colorectal cancer.

A research team has developed an “assassin antibody” that attaches itself to colorectal cancer cells and destroys them with an astonishing success rate.

“We’ve had up to 80 per cent of animals completely disease free,” research lead Dr. Humphrey Fonge told 650 CKOM, noting there has also been a high success rate in testing colorectal cancerous tissue removed from human patients.

Fonge’s designer molecule is attracted to a protein that rests on the surface of the cancer cells and attaches itself to that protein.

The radioactive compound then works to destroy the cell by releasing high energy towards the DNA of the cancer cell, while causing minimal or no damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

While they are still early in the research process, with human clinical trials still at least two years away, Fonge is optimistic his assassin antibody could end up as the most effective treatment for colorectal cancer.

“If the data we see in mice are translatable to humans, then I can tell you there will be significantly higher cure rates,” he said.

He noted all the other medical literature he’s researched hasn’t indicated any similar breakthroughs in colorectal cancer research.

There are currently no antibody drug therapies for colorectal cancer patients that destroy the cancer cells. It is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in North America and is often diagnosed at a late stage when it has already spread to the rest of the body.

Fonge cautions if patients are still being diagnosed at a later stage, the assassin antibody IV treatment may not destroy all of the cancer.

He said in the 20 per cent of the mice that weren’t completely cured, the cancer was significantly reduced before making a comeback.

Fonge said the next step is to conduct validation studies, which will test the assassin antibody against cancers which don’t exhibit the protein it’s meant to target to see if it is doing what it’s supposed to do.

After that, they’ll engage in toxicity tests to ensure it’s safe to inject into the human body.

If those studies are successful, the research team will apply to Health Canada for human clinical trials in approximately two years.

There’s also potential the assassin antibody will be effective against other cancers that exhibit the same protein as colorectal cancer – including breast and pancreatic cancers.