Cure For Cancer? New Drug Which Decimates Tumors Approved For Human Testing

Imagine a drug which can kill tumors of any kind and you have what researchers are only steps away from knowing. It is the antibody drug, CD47, which has been found to have more impact than previously thought against cancers of the blood. Recently, researchers and scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California have performed a series of tests on mice with successful results. The data from these tests helped scientists to determine whether to move forward with new human trials.

Dr. Irving Weissman, Stanford professor of Pathology and the lead study author is hopeful that there is enough data from the mice trials. Weissman told Science Now that, “what we’ve shown is that CD47 isn't just important on leukemias and lymphomas. It’s on every single human primary tumor that we tested.” It was found that cancer cells always ended up having higher levels of CD47 than the healthy cells. The question then is whether a CD47 tumor can predict the odds of survival for patients.

Research was conducted on mice with seven different types of cancer tumors: Breast, ovary, colon, liver, brain, prostrate, and bladder. The findings were then published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Weissman and his team are preparing for phase I human trials, which will be funded by a four year, $20 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

While the research and findings may be substantial evidence to move forward with human trials, there are some who warn against jumping to conclusions in findings. As Science Now reported, cancer researcher Tyler Jacks of the MIT notes that while the study is promising, more research should still be conducted to see whether humans will react in the same way. Jacks said that "It’s possible that a real tumor has additional immune suppressing effects." Another question Jacks poses is how the CD47 antibodies would complement existing treatments. Trials will move forward, however with data that has been found and analyzed.

Weissman noted, "We have enough data already … that I can say I’m confident that this will move to phase I human trials."