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Tumor-Shrinking Drug

April 11, 2012

Scientists are testing a drug that shrinks a wide variety of cancerous tumors.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

An anti-cancer antibody…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

White blood cells destroy cancer cells by engulfing, or “eating” them. But a protein called CD47 acts as a “don’t eat me” signal, allowing tumor cells to grow. Now, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have developed an antibody to CD47 which blocks that signal. To test its effect on cancer, they transferred ovarian tumors from women to mice. Biologist Irv Weissman led the research.

IRV WEISSMAN (Stanford University School of Medicine):

Within just a couple of months they had a signal from the cancer that was 30,000 times more intense than from the abdomens of the mice that had been treated with the antibody to the “don’t eat me” signal. That is, we cured the animals.

HIRSHON:

What’s more, the antibody either shrank or destroyed a wide variety of tumors. He says the next step is to test the safety and effectiveness of the antibody in human clinical trials. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

A protein called CD47 promotes tumor growth by telling the immune system not to attack it. (Pleiotrope/Wikimedia Commons)