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Published on 5 October 2009

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Antibodies in cancer breakthrough

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A treatment to “supercharge” the body’s immune system and help it fight some types of cancer is being trialled by scientists at Southampton University.

They claim to have achieved significantly increased rates of survival from childhood cancer neuroblastoma with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) anti-41BB and anti-CD40.

They found that 40% to 60% of tumours treated with the antibodies, which bind to molecules in the immune system, are destroyed in laboratory tests.

When one of the mAbs was paired with a particular peptide, or protein fragment, it destroyed a similar percentage of more aggressive tumours.

A spokesman said that the antibodies are designed to recognise and stimulate the immune response, thus making it more effective in attacking cancer cells.

He said: “It is hoped that these antibodies can be used to boost or ‘supercharge’ the body’s immune system to help it fight cancer.”

The research is due to be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Birmingham.

Copyright Press Association 2009

National Cancer Research Institute



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