Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Drug Uses Immune System To Fight Cancer

Wired is running a story about an experimental drug that coaxes the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Micromet announced that its experimental drug, MT103, had impressive results in a test upon seven Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients - all of whom had failed conventional treatments.

The drug uses BiTE antibodies, or bispecific T cell engagers, which are highly-engineered biological molecules with sticky ends. One side can cling to CD19, a protein found on cancerous B cells, and the other half can grab onto CD3, which is found on cytotoxic T cells. By momentarily drawing those cells together, the drug can coax the cytotoxic T cells into fighting the disease.

Training the immune system to fight cancer may be one of the best ways to keep it from coming back after several rounds of standard treatment.

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