A single anti-body that shrinks a wide variety of human tumors in mice.
They showed that nearly every human cancer cell they examined expressed CD47 — usually at higher levels (on average, about three times more) than did non-cancerous cells. Furthermore, people whose cancer cells express a lot of CD47 tend to have shorter life spans than people with similar cancers that express less CD47. This suggests that an analysis of the levels of CD47 expression in some types of tumors could be a valuable prognostic tool for patients and their doctors.
Willingham and Volkmer then implanted the different human tumor cells into matching locations in the bodies of mice — breast cancer tumors into the mammary fat pads, and ovarian cancer tumors into the abdomen, for example. Once the tumors were well-established (after two weeks or more), they treated the animals with the anti-CD47 antibody.
The researchers saw that most of the established tumors begin to shrink and even, in some cases, disappear within weeks of treatment with the antibody. In one case, antibody treatment cured five mice injected with the same human breast cancer cells. When the tumor was gone, the treatment was discontinued; the mice were monitored for four months with no signs of recurrence.
“These results indicate that anti-CD47 antibodies can dramatically inhibit the growth of human solid tumors by blocking the ability of CD47 to transmit the ‘don’t-eat-me’ signal to macrophages,” concluded the authors.
Clinical trials for humans within two years?