Led by assistant professor Humphrey Fonge, the researchers created an assassin antibody — with attached radioactive molecules — that cling to a specific protein on colorectal cancer cells and kill them by releasing high energy.
“This is a personalized medicine approach enabling us to treat the cancer in a very pinpointed way, while sparing healthy tissue,” Fonge said in a press release.
“This could transform outcomes for many colorectal cancer patients including those at the advanced stages of the cancer.”
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According to U of S, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in North America. Patients with advanced colorectal cancer generally have a life expectancy of around 24 to 30 months.
Current antibody drug therapies can slow down the spread of colorectal cancer, but do not destroy the existing cancer cells.
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Fonge said their new treatment is a novel radio-immunotherapy approach.
He added their initial evaluation of the assassin antibody in mice has been very promising and they hope to move to human trials in two years.
The U of S team is planning to study whether the new antibody could be used to treat other cancers, including breast and pancreatic cancers, which express the same protein.