Israeli scientists developed a new antibody that creates a powerful immune response against cancer, Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) said in a statement on Thursday.
This new immunotherapeutic development, described in a study published in the journal Cell, improves communication between immune cells and may lead to innovative therapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases, the WIS said. The researchers discovered that immune T cells become exhausted and lose their effectiveness in fighting cancerous tumors without the stimulatory support of dendritic immune cells. Consequently, common immunotherapy treatments are ineffective in many patients because their tumor areas lack dendritic immune cells, while in other patients effectiveness is short-lived.
The team then engineered the two-armed antibody, named BiCE (Bispecific DC-T Cell Engager), with one arm blocking the harmful receptor that exhausts the T cells, while the other arm recruits the essential dendritic cell. In mouse experiments, the researchers found that the antibody slowed the growth of tumors in lung, skin, and breast cancers. Furthermore, it was discovered that the new antibody can prevent a future outbreak of cancer, by leaving behind immune cells that remember how to identify cancer and respond accordingly.