Study Suggests Prostate Cancer Patients Could Produce Antibodies Against Their Own Diseased Cells

Study Suggests Prostate Cancer Patients Could Produce Antibodies Against Their Own Diseased Cells
Researchers at Philadelphia's Wistar Institute have developed a method that delivers synthetic DNA coding for anti-cancer antibodies to cancer patients, allowing for sustained production of these therapeutic antibodies in a patient's bloodstream without multiple injections. The team described using the technology to produce antibodies that bind to PSMA, a prostate cancer protein. This attracted specialized immune cells to the cancer cells, shrinking the tumor and increasing survival. But the method, called DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody (DMAb), has only been tested in mice thus far, and more studies are required to determine its safety and feasibility in cancer patients. The Wistar study, “Novel prostate cancer immunotherapy with a DNA-encoded anti-prostate-specific membrane antigen monoclonal antibody,” appeared in the journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy. "This is an important demonstration of the possibilities opened up for immunotherapy by DMAb technology to direct in vivo production of antibodies of major relevance to human cancer," David B. Weiner, the study's senior author, said in a news release. "There is a great need for such new approaches for prostate disease as well as many other cancers," said Weiner, who is also the institute's executive vice-president. "As recent data suggest, PSMA is an important cancer antigen expressed on many human prostate, bladder, renal as well as ovarian cancers, so additional study of the possible benefits of this therapy are important." Scientists have long studied the PSMA protein as a potential target to promote anti-tumor immune response and control the progression of prostate cancer. But specific antibodies targeting PSMA have only demonstrated limited efficacy. This is mainly because low
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