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Promising immunotherapy: Treat cancer with the body's own antibodies


IgE antibodies can destroy cancerous tumors

Most allergy sufferers should be well aware of immunoglobulin E (IgE), as these antibodies play a major role in allergic reactions. The IgE antibodies, which are actually used to ward off dangerous foreign substances, are directed against harmless substances in allergy sufferers and the allergic reaction follows. Scientists have now successfully used the IgE antibodies against cancerous tumors and successfully destroyed the tumors in 60 percent of the cases.

According to the current study, the antibodies could also be used for cancer therapy. In experiments on dogs, researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna and MedUni Vienna demonstrated that IgE can be used for immunotherapy for cancer. "In in-vitro studies, the tumor was destroyed by the IgE antibody in over 60 percent of the cases," study leader Erika Jensen-Jarolim and colleagues report. The researchers published their study results in the journal "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology".

Special IgE antibodies developed

When developing allergies, the reaction of the body's own immunoglobulin E is “senseless” because it interacts with inflammatory cells against harmless antigens, the scientists explain. This causes serious allergies. "In the current study, our motto is against it: Make sense of the IgE," continued Erika Jensen-Jarolim, study director. Here, the researchers developed a special "dog IgE" that is directed directly against the EGFR growth factor of cancer tumors.

60 percent of treatments successful

In experiments on a dog as a “model patient”, the researchers were able to show that in tumors that have the EGFR growth factor, cancer cells can be successfully eliminated by immunoglobulin E - regardless of the dog breed. The IgE antibody destroyed the tumors in over 60 percent of the cases. This result is also very promising because the EGFR in dogs is 92 percent identical to that in humans, the researchers emphasize.

Immunotherapy for cancer tumors

According to the scientists, the IgE antibodies form a “bridge”, so to speak, between the EGFR on tumor cells and the inflammatory cells, which releases so-called tumor necrosis factors that immediately initiate the death of the tumors. "This gives us hope that we are making an important contribution to a new form of immunotherapy against cancer tumors"; emphasizes the director of studies. Now the results are to be checked in further studies on dogs before the first tests on humans follow.

Cancer research is currently putting a lot of hope into what are known as immunotherapies, which use the body's own defense mechanisms to fight cancer cells. The successful use of IgE antibodies is a good example of these new options in cancer therapy. (fp)

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Video: Engineering Antibodies for Cancer Immunotherapy (August 2020).