Double Attack on Cancer

New research at the Institute may offer a sliver of hope for treating “triple-negative” breast cancer. “Triple-negative” refers to the fact that the breast cancer cells are missing the three different receptors targeted by the currently available drugs, for instance Herceptin and steroid hormone blockers. This type of cancer also tends to be fairly aggressive, and the risk of early recurrence is higher than for other types of breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer cells do have other receptors – particularly EGFR, a growth factor receptor that would seem to be a good target for anticancer antibodies. The problem is that previously tested agents that block EGFR have been found to be ineffective in treating the cancer.

The Weizmann team’s innovation was to go after the EGF receptor with two different antibodies that bound to the receptor from different sides. More than just a one-two punch, the double attack worked better than expected. The scientists think that the weight of the two antibodies on one receptor may not only block it, but cause it to collapse back into the tumor cell.

Breast cancer cell. Image: NCI

All of this, we should point out, worked in mice. Any human studies are well in the future. On the other hand, if the study results are born out, the double-attack approach could prove fruitful for other types of cancer, as well.

Two other news items that went online today:

Researchers discover a star’s “mini-explosion” taking place just a month before an all-out supernova explosion.

A biological device made of DNA inserted into a bacterial cell works like a tiny diagnostic computer.

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As a result, TIMP1 can provide assistance to identify patients with particularly hostile diseases for adjuvant treatment. Human antibodies that bind to TIMP1 can be used as reagents to diagnose and treat disorders in which TIMP1 is elevated. For example, liver fibrosis, alcoholic liver disease, cardiac fibrosis, acute coronary syndrome, lupus nephritis, glomerulosclerotic renal disease, benign prostate hypertrophy, colon cancer, lung cancer, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can be treated from the TIMP-1 antibody.

Biorbyt are one of the worlds leading antibodies suppliers and helps scientists with this research. It would be interesting if does some promo for them to get more recognition.

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