Bispecific antibodies, which simultaneously bind tumor antigens and T cells, killed cancer cells without harming healthy ones in mouse tumor models and / or in cell culture experiments.
Several studies published today by Science group journals reveal the promise of newly engineered bispecific antibodies and demonstrate, for the first time, their power against previously inaccessible tumor cell targets.
The results highlight the therapeutic potential of these types of antibodies, which, unlike modified immune cell therapies such as CAR T, do not have to be personalized for the patient, the journal writes.
Some cancer immunotherapy approaches rely on common disease-related mutations to act as antigens and create an immune response.
One of the most common tumor suppressor mutant genes is p53, and the authors successfully designed a bispecific antibody to reactivate it.
In mice grafted with human multiple myeloma cells and in cell lines, the antibody caused tumor regression.
Another study used bispecific antibodies against malignant T cells in leukemias and T-cell lymphomas without damaging cells of the same type, but which were healthy, an aspect that is difficult in cancer immunotherapy.
In the third study, bispecific antibodies were modified to recognize and kill isolated tumor cells in culture that had extremely low levels of mutant, cancer-promoting RAS proteins on their surface.
Targeting mutant genes that cause cancer, such as RAS, has become a promising strategy for formulating anticancer drugs, the publication recalls.