Whether it be a family member or friend, most of us, unfortunately, have had to deal with cancer at some point in our lives. Scientists at Stanford have uncovered an antibody that, when administered to human tumors, broke down the cancerous tumors associated with brain, breast, prostate, liver, ovarian, bowel, and bladder cancer.
In the human body, there is a protein called CD47. CD47 is found primarily on healthy blood cells, and it acts as a shield that tells our immune system not to attack. Stanford scientist Dr. Irving Weissman found that levels of CD47 on tumors are off the charts, and therefore the body doesn’t realize that the object is bad and won’t try to break it down. CD47 is also found on leukemia and lymphoma cells, and is a potential cure for those as well. Scientists working with Weissman essentially were able to unmask these cancerous tumors by administered a single medication: a CD47 antibody. Once uncloaked, our immune system can attack and break them down for good.
Human tumors were input into mice for the trial. In many but not all cases, the tumors were seen to shrink and often times disappear. The tumor stopped growing altogether in nine out of ten mice. In five out of ten mice, the cancer cells were eliminated completely, and the mice remained cancer free for at least four months.
It’s important to note that this has not been tested inside humans, but has been proven to work on human cancerous tumors. Dr. Irving Weissman said the goal is to now to move forward “quickly but cautiously.” After recently receiving a $20 million grant, Dr. Weissman said “We have enough data that I can say I’m confident that this will move to phase I human trials.”
Healthy blood cells did get destroyed in the process, but were quickly regenerated. It is speculated that this CD47 antibody may be available in a pill form within a few years.
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