Antibody finds, wipes out prostate cancer: study

Dec 28, 2009

US researchers have found an antibody that hunts down prostate cancer cells in mice and can destroy the killer disease even in an advanced stage, a study showed Monday.

The antibody, called F77, was found to bond more readily with cancerous prostate tissues and cells than with benign tissue and cells, and to promote the death of cancerous tissue, said the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

When injected in mice, F77 bonded with tissue where was the primary cancer in almost all cases (97 percent) and in tissue cores where the cancer had metastasized around 85 percent of the time.

It recognized even androgen-independent , present when prostate cancer is incurable, the study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania showed.

F77 "initiated direct cell death of ... and effectively prevented tumor outgrowth," it said.

But it did not target normal tissue, or tumor tissues in other parts of the body including the colon, kidney, cervix, pancreas, lung, skin or bladder, the study showed.

The antibody "shows promising potential for diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, especially for androgen-independent metastatic prostate cancer," which often spreads to the bones and is difficult to treat, the researchers wrote in PNAS.

Currently, the five-year survival rate for metastatic prostate cancer is just 34 percent, according to the study.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, claiming half a million lives each year worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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User comments : 22

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Supermegadope
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2009
How long until they are able to start human trials?
El_Nose
5 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2009
it takes 5 - 12 years ( longer depending on type of drug) to get through first 3 clinical trials. The fourth clinical trial has an indefinite period as it measures effect over lifetime of patient. You have to get through first three trials, and many times repeat the third trial a few times jus tto make sure it wasn't a fluke to get liscensing of a new drug.
croghan26
5 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2009
I guess the first question is did the mice live normal lives after the injections? Were there side effects?

The drug is useless if it 'cures' the cancer but kills from some other effect.
RavenWizard
4 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2009
Could this be another 'key' element' during the bio-engineering process toward an eventual vaccine? It certainly seems to be so.
psommerfeld
2 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
Who cares? It's only relevant 5 years and $15 millions from now, if it ever makes it to human trials.
Nartoon
4 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2009
It's amazing what they can cure mice of these days; cancers, fat, Alzheimer's, heart disease etc.
Paradox
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
Human trials should be allowed for terminally ill patients, as they have no other hope. Any chance is better than none.
Sinister181
5 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2009
Amazing. 5 - 12 years. Isn't that kind of.. ridiculous? What about the people who need it now?
Kedas
3 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2009
I guess experimental projects will be possible much sooner.
Obviously you will have to sign that you take full responsibility for any results.
croghan26
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
... at the time (1958) my mother was the a nurce for a doctor that refused to prescribe thalidomide. He was a responsibly individual and was afraid of just what happened.

Rushing things into usage can have horrible consequences.
DozerIAm
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
Here is my problem with this article, and this problem extends to many of the articles here on Physorg - they seem to love "hype based reporting".

For example, it says:
Currently, the five-year survival rate for metastatic prostate cancer is just 34 percent, according to the study.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, claiming half a million lives each year worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Note theat it gives the survival rate for METASTATIC prostate cancer and in the next sentence describes the occurence rate for ALL prostrate cancers. They follow it with the death rate from what is presumably the metastatic cancer, since regular prostrate cancer isn't deadly, but by that sentence most men are already unnecessarily worried. This is disingenuous and misleading, many men with prostrate cancer don't need treatment and most of the ones who do need it for LOCAL secondary symptoms like difficulty in urination, etc.
kshultz222_yahoo_com
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
I believe any time that a "medicine" can cure another animal, humans with terminal/catastrophic patients should be given the opportunity to be given the treatments unless there are major overriding reasons why they shouldn't. As was said, any hope is better than no hope. It is cruel to do otherwise.
What we are telling patients is: "We have a cure for your terminal illness, but it MIGHT kill you. We cannot afford the risk to our . . . "
DozerIAm
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2009
I believe any time that a "medicine" can cure another animal, humans with terminal/catastrophic patients should be given the opportunity to be given the treatments unless there are major overriding reasons why they shouldn't. As was said, any hope is better than no hope. It is cruel to do otherwise.
What we are telling patients is: "We have a cure for your terminal illness, but it MIGHT kill you. We cannot afford the risk to our . . . "


I agree with you. However, no contract, no matter how well explained and how clearly written and ironclad will escape the Doctor, hospital and drug manufacturer from getting sued and possibly losing a huge lawsuit. And even if they win the lawsuit, the expense in both money and community good will would be onerous. I blame this entirely on medical malpractice lawyers getting rich on settlements for cases which shouldn't have been made. Tort reform would help here, but will probably never happen.
MorituriMax
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
I think I have been watching stories like these for years now, but never seem to see any of these discoveries ever make it to the real world. None.

Maybe PhysOrg could do a section where they tell us about theories and trials that actually have been released for public consumption?
x646d63
not rated yet Dec 30, 2009
If this is an antibody, it would be more helpful to know exactly how the body manufactures it, and how we can encourage its production within our own bodies.
Temple
not rated yet Dec 31, 2009
If this is an antibody, it would be more helpful to know exactly how the body manufactures it, and how we can encourage its production within our own bodies.


Agreed. Many commenters are seemingly confusing an antibody with a chemical drug. An antibody is essentially a 'tag' that tells your own body's white blood cells: "kill this". Obviously it's important that that antibody doesn't cause your autoimmune system to start going nuts and destroying your healthy tissues, but we're not looking at the same questionable side-effects of a chemical drug or radiation treatment.
croghan26
1 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2009
I believe any time that a "medicine" can cure another animal, humans with terminal/catastrophic patients should be given the opportunity to be given the treatments unless there are major overriding reasons why they shouldn't. As was said, any hope is better than no hope. It is cruel to do otherwise.
What we are telling patients is: "We have a cure for your terminal illness, but it MIGHT kill you. We cannot afford the risk to our . . . "


Methinks that using the dying to test for possible beneficial effects of drugs and treatments is morallly a shakey proposition.
Phelankell
5 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2009
Methinks that using the dying to test for possible beneficial effects of drugs and treatments is morallly a shakey proposition.

Methinks that most of the dying would wish to attempt anything to extend their lives or to prevent others from suffering their pain and eventual death when it was possibly preventable.
Sinister181
5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2009
Methinks that using the dying to test for possible beneficial effects of drugs and treatments is morallly a shakey proposition.

Methinks that most of the dying would wish to attempt anything to extend their lives or to prevent others from suffering their pain and eventual death when it was possibly preventable.


Seconded.
MickeyMouse
5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2009
I can't imagine why an experimental drug is denied to the terminal patient. What does he have to lose? Furthermore, what better choice to begin safety testing but with the terminal.

I was curious why the cervix was mentioned for MALE patients ?!? Did I miss something in biology??
physpuppy
not rated yet Jan 01, 2010
While I agree with the posters who are saying "why not give the experimental drug to terminally ill patients", there are many things to consider, even neglecting lawsuits and morality of human experimentation and the abuses that might arise -

First what if there is no curative effect and the effect of the drug is to increase suffering ten fold? (as in maybe an even more unpleasant death)

Another consideration - at the early stages of drug development, the cost for dosages are extremely high. Think of buying a car vs a "concept car". Now consider the case of the "concept car" built at a very small scale (analogy: dosage amounts for mice). Now it needs to be built to fit a person and still work properly (scaling up the chemistry to larger amounts is often not trivial)

Now who will pay for the treatment that might turn out to be ineffectual? We're not talking $1000/per dose here - likely much much more - solvents, reagents, researcher's time to produce the drug are all expensive.
GDM
not rated yet Jan 02, 2010
As a prostate cancer victim and survivor (for now) I would welcome paying the price and absolving everyone from any legal liability (and I was a lawyer). This cancer DOES kill 50,000 men every year. A good friend of mine died within 3 months of his discovery and he was 49. I am now 62 ande accidently discovered my agressive form at 56. It was removed but came back last year. I had radiation and hormone treatment (anti-testosterone "chemical castration") and it appears to be "cured". I have a few side effects but none I can't live without. Everything otherwise is totally normal and my wife and child are happy I'm still here. Bottom line: GET the PSA TEST early and regularly. I only takes a few months for the rate of increase to explode (say, for 0.1 to over 11). If it stays low, great, otherwise, get to a Dr. immediately! Yes, most prostate cancers are slow growing and most men will die WITH it rather than FROM it, but 50,000 a year still die FROM it.