Cancer, thou hast a new enemy, and he goes by the name of Dr. Irv Weissman.
Weissman, a pathology and developmental biology professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, is hoping a single antibody he’s developed will destroy all cancers in humans — just as it’s already done in mice.
The antibody, created by Weissman and his team, works by blocking cancer’s natural defenses.
Its defense, a protein called CD47 lives on the surface of all cancer cells and tricks the immune system by telling the body not to eat it.
This allows the cancer to grow and multiply.
However, researchers discovered they can override the “do not eat me” signals with the introduction of their anti-CD47 antibody.
Thus far, experiments have been done by embedding human cancers into laboratory mice. But since animal versions of the anti-CD47 can not be used in humans, researchers will have to create a “humanized” version of the antibody.
Once that happens, production of the antibody must be scaled up in a sterile facility, tested and approved by regulatory officials.
In short, the whole process will take a long time, said Stanford officials.
Still, researchers are excited over the promising indication that a single antibody could treat all types of cancer.