A drug that shrinks all tumors?
Tumors have co-opted this protein, which normally keeps white blood cells from eating red blood cells.
Last year, a PNAS study showed that the surfaces of many tumor cells have a protein called CD47, which protects them from the immune system. But when tumors are treated with an antibody to CD47, they do get attacked by immune system cells. So the researchers transplanted seven kinds of human tumors into mice, and treated them with an antibody to CD47.
All of the tumors — bladder, brain, breast, colon, liver, ovary and prostate — shrank or disappeared, which kept them from spreading. Now, the research will progress to clinical trials, thanks to a $20 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. CD47 was originally found on leukemia and lymphoma cells, and the trial will target the stem cells that perpetuate acute myeloid leukemia. This cancer of the blood and bone marrow is fatal within months if untreated, and the five year survival rate is only 30-40% even with aggressive treatments including chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants.
Cancer Commons 2013
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