Monday, August 17, 2009

Cancer stem cells news

Cancer Stem Cells (or 'tumor-initiating cells') are in the news again, this time with promising research on potential therapeutics (see NYTimes article here)

A team of scientists including Eric Lander, Robert Weinberg and Charlotte Kuperwasser identified selective inhibitors of Cancer Stem Cells by high-throughput screening (Gupta et al., Cell, August 13 2009) . 32 of the 16,000 chemicals screened selectively went after cancer stem cells.

Scientists from OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to develop cancer therapies by targeting tumor-initiating cells, published an article in Cell Stem Cell demonstrating anti-cancer activity of a DLL4 blocking antibody in colon and breast cancer models (1). The antibody, the company’s first product candidate, OMP-21M18, is currently in Phase 1 clinical testing.

As we mentioned earlier in this post, blocking monoclonal antibodies directed against CD47 preferentially enabled phagocytosis of acute myeloid leukemia stem cells and inhibited their engraftment in vivo, making CD47 a potential therapeutic target for AML.
The same team led by Irv Weissman has now identified the first human bladder cancer stem cell, and has shown CD47 here again as a key player in allowing cancer cells to escape the body’s natural defenses (Chan et al., PNAS, June 28 2009).

Richard Lock and colleagues have also shown evidence of the elimination of human acute myeloid leukemic stem cells, this time by monoclonal antibody-mediated targeting of CD123, the IL-3 Receptor alpha Chain (Jin et al., Cell Stem Cell (5) 1, July 2009) .

(1) Recombinant human DLL4 from R&D Systems was used in the DLL4 study

R&DDLL4 products from R&D Systems

CD47 products from R&D Systems

IL-3R alpha (CD123) products from R&D Systems

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