Weaponized Antibodies Use New Tricks to Fight Cancer


“After decades of frustration, efforts to develop antibodies that can ferry drugs into cancer cells — and minimize damage to healthy tissue — are gathering steam. The next generation of these ‘weaponized antibody’ therapies, called antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs), is working its way through clinical trials.

“Researchers will gather to discuss this renaissance on 30 November at the Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Munich, Germany. The improvements come after the first wave of experimental ADCs failed to deliver on its promise.

” ‘Initially there was a lot of excitement, and then slowly many of them did not work,’ says Raffit Hassan, a cancer researcher at the US National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Now, he says, there are two new ADCs in phase III clinical trials, and many more in earlier-stage testing.”

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Big Changes Coming in Treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

“The treatment paradigm for patients with triple-negative breast cancer is set to undergo a dramatic transformation, as standard chemotherapeutic approaches are perfected and novel antibody-drug conjugates are developed.

“The treatment paradigm for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is set to undergo a dramatic transformation, as standard chemotherapeutic approaches are perfected and novel antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are developed. Kimberly Blackwell addressed this topic at the 2015 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium, a meeting of over 1,000 oncologists and oncology professionals in New York City in November.

“ ‘I think we will see significant improvements in triple-negative breast cancer within the next few years,’ said Blackwell, an oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute. ‘There are two ADCs that I am fairly excited about that are in late stage development.’ “

New Drug for Advanced HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Begins Testing in a Clinical Trial

The gist: A clinical trial has begun to test a new treatment for people with HER2-positive breast cancer. The drug is called SYD985. It is being tested in people with locally advanced or metastatic tumors. The first phase of testing will enroll both HER2-positive and HER2-negative cancer patients to test the safety of the drug. The second phase will enroll HER2-positive breast and gastric cancer patients, including patients with low expression of HER2 (HER2 2+).

“Synthon Biopharmaceuticals (‘Synthon’) today announced that the first patients with metastatic solid tumors have commenced treatment with its investigational anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), SYD985.

“First patients for this trial are being enrolled in leading European oncology centers Radboud University Medical Center (Nijmegen, the Netherlands), the Jules Bordet Institute (Brussels, Belgium) and the Institute of Cancer Research at The Royal Marsden Hospital (London, United Kingdom). The trial will recruit at least 76 patients and more centers are expected to join the trial in 2015.

“This trial is a two part first-in-human Phase I study. In the dose escalation part of the trial, safety and efficacy of SYD985 will be evaluated in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors of any origin. In the expanded cohort part of the trial, only patients with breast and gastric cancer will be enrolled. The expanded cohorts will include patients currently indicated for HER2-targeted treatment as well as patients with HER2 2+ and HER2 1+ breast cancer for whom there currently is no effective anti-HER2 therapy available.”

Immunomedics Announces Objective Responses in Five Types of Solid Cancer With IMMU-132

“Immunomedics, Inc., (Nasdaq:IMMU) today reported that 71% of patients (34 of 48) with diverse metastatic solid cancers had durable disease stabilization after receiving treatments with the Company’s novel investigational antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), IMMU-132. These include 7 patients (15%) with colorectal, small-cell and non-small-cell lung, esophageal, and triple-negative breast cancers showing partial responses with tumor shrinkage of 30% or more as measured by computed tomography (CT).”

Editor’s note: Scientists have developed a new cancer drug called IMMU-132, which may work in a variety of cancer types. IMMU-132 is an immunotherapy, meaning it boosts a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. A clinical trial to test the drug in volunteer patients found promising results, including in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

Novel Imaging Tools and Therapeutics Take Advantage of Prostate Cancer Biomarker

A new way to detect metastatic prostate tumors using molecular imaging has shown promise in an early phase clinical trial. The noninvasive technique takes advantage of a prostate cancer-specific marker on the surface of prostate cancer cells. Continue reading…