Scientists have discovered that human antibodies could improve the effectiveness of rituximab, which is a drug to fight cancer. They found that the human antibodies in the rituximab could heighten the increase of the death of cancer cells.
The findings of the discovery were published in the journal PLOS One. The work was led by Dr. Edward F. Patz Jr. and Alice Chen, Professor of Radiology at Duke, and other colleagues. The scientists had produced this antibody and shut off the CFH or a molecule that is known as complement factor H. With this, it effectively removed the cancer cell's security system and left it open to drugs like rituximab or the immune system, according to Medical News Today.
A human antibody is an antibody from non-human species that has modified protein sequences that could heighten the similarity to antibody variants and could be created naturally in humans. Meanwhile, the antibody is also referred to as the immunoglobulin, which is a big Y-shaped protein that is generated chiefly by plasma cells. This is used by the immune system to defuse pathogens like viruses and bacteria. The humanization of antibodies could be applied to developed anti-cancer drugs.
In the new study, the scientists examined the leukemic cell of 11 patients to determine whether they were resistant to rituximab. About 10 of the patients' tumor cells were unresponsive to rituximab.
Then, the scientists added CFH antibody to rituximab. The results showed that five of the patients, about 45 percent of them, had a significant increase in the death of cancer cells.
Dr. Patz said that this is a combination approach and it appears to strip away the immune protection of cancer cells. He further said that patients who had been rituximab resistant became rituximab sensitive.
Currently, the scientists are planning to have a phase 1 clinical trial. They also want to know if it will work on advanced solid tumors such as lung, colon and breast cancers.