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Novel Antibody Therapy for the Treatment of Blood Cancers

CREATION of a new antibody by researchers may provide an effective alternative treatment for multiple blood cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Until now, treatments for these malignancies have failed to remove cancerous cells from the bone marrow; an essential step in successful treatment.

By recognising the level of protection that the bone marrow provides for cancer cells, Dr Flavia Pernasetti, Pfizer Oncology Research and Development, San Diego, California, USA, and colleagues, focussed their study on finding ways to drive the cancer away from the bone marrow; therefore, limiting the nourishment of the cancer cells. The team developed a novel antibody (PF-06747143), which interacted with the CXCR4 chemokine receptor involved in controlling the movement of cells into the bone marrow. Preclinical research showed that the antibody acted in two ways: 1) by moving the cells into the peripheral blood stream, where they could be destroyed by other treatments; and 2) by attacking and killing the cells directly.

Using mouse models to study the efficacy of the antibody therapy alone or in combination with standard chemotherapy, the study group observed positive results in the treatment of mice with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and AML. In all cases, the antibody therapy cleared more cancer cells than the standard care procedure. For AML specifically, researchers observed a 95.9% reduction in the number of cancer cells when the antibody was used as a standalone treatment. In addition, 99.7% of cancer cells were destroyed when the antibody was used alongside standard chemotherapy agents, daunorubicin and cytarabine, to treat cases of AML that were resistant to existing therapies.

Commenting on these promising results, Dr Pernasetti explained: “Not only does our approach have the potential to get these cells out of the marrow, making them more susceptible to standards of care, it is designed to also directly attack the cancer cells.” A Phase I clinical trial in AML patients is currently underway to assess the safety and efficacy of PF-06747143 when used in the clinic and the team at Pfizer Oncology Research and Development are excited for the results. Dr Pernasetti concluded: “PF-06747143 could potentially be used as a standalone therapy for patients who are not candidates for standard care or used in combination with chemotherapy.”

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