Washington, Aug 31 An Indian-origin researcher is developing a two-fisted, antibody-based approach to destroy deadly ovarian cancer, which he believes could also be modified to kill breast, prostate and other solid tumours.
The dual-pronged approach developed by Jogender Tushir-Singh from the University of Virginia in the US, aims to overcome obstacles that have undermined otherwise promising immune therapies for ovarian cancer.
If the approach proves successful, it may even rescue some failed therapies, allowing doctors to move them to the clinic, where they could benefit patients, he said.
"There are a lot of efforts in terms of cancer immune therapy, but the success of these are really limited in solid tumours," said Tushir-Singh.
"I strongly believe, and with my own experience while working in the pharmaceutical industry, that this advancement will allow us to rescue and give a second lease of life to a lot of antibodies that have failed in the clinic.
"This is all based on large amount of clinical data, and we have strategically exploited this information to improve the therapeutic efficacy against ovarian cancer," he said.
Tushir-Singh decided to find a way to make the tumour environment more attractive despite the protective fence around it.
He engineered an antibody that he likens to a "two-headed arrow."
"The antibodies need to find a home," he said, "so let's design one head to bind to a receptor that is highly expressed in ovarian tumors."
Tushir-Singh sought to amplify his antibody's cancer-killing power.
The result: One head of the "arrow" strikes what is known as the "death receptor" on the cancer cells, telling them to die.
The other head strikes a receptor known as FOLR1, a well-established marker that suggests a poor prognosis among ovarian cancers.
Tushir-Singh's engineered antibodies are more than 100 times more effective at killing cancer cells than the antibodies that have made it to clinical trials, his lab work suggests.
The approach avoids toxicity issues that have plagued previous antibody therapies, he said. SAR SAR
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