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Ultimate Antibody Cures Every Type Of Cancer In Clinical Tests (VIDEO)

Mar 29, 2013 08:01 AM EDT
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Cancer researchers made a groundbreaking discovery by developing an ultimate antibody, a single treatment that has been shown to kill every type of cancer it was tested on.

The latest developments are based on research that began a decade ago at Stanford School of Medicine, where researchers discovered a link between cancer cells and high levels of a protein called CD47 while studying leukemia. Irving Weissman, the biologist behind the breakthrough, continued to study CD47 and found a CD47-blocking antibody that could cure some cases of leukemia by stimulating the immune system to recognize cancer cells as invaders.

Now, Weissman has established a link between CD47 and most of primary caners that affect humans, finding that cancer cells always had higher levels of CD47 than healthy cells. The inordinate amounts of CD47 produced by the cancer cells effectively trick the immune system into not destroying the cancer cells.

"What we've shown is that CD47 isn't just important on leukemias and lymphomas," Weissman told Science magazine. "It's on every single human primary tumor that we tested."

Weissman and his team used that observation to develop an antibody that blocks cancer cells' CD47, causing the body's immune system to attack the cancerous cells.

In tests on laboratory mice infected with a litany human cancers - breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, brain, liver prostate - the antibody was shown to force the mice's immune systems to kill the tumorous cells.

"We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis," said Weissman.

The next step is for clinical tests in humans, which should be underway thanks to a $20 million grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to move the findings to human safety tests, which was granted in 2012, after the study took place. 

"We have enough data already that I can say I'm confident that this will move to phase I human trials," said Weissman.

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