An antibody created to block a protein, CD47, has been effective in destroying cancer tumors in testing on mice. Ten years ago, Irving Weissman, a biologist at Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues found that leukemia cells produced higher levels of CD 47 than is found in healthy cells and blocks the immune system from destroying them.
Researchers have developed an antibody (anti-CD47) that forces the immune system to kill the CD47 in human cancer tumors of the breast, ovary, bladder, prostate, brain, colon and liver that were transplanted into the mice. In an article in Science Now, Weissman said, “We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis.”
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine has given Weissman’s team a $20 million grant to move the findings from the mouse studies into the first phase of human trials.