The use of antibodies in breast cancer treatment is an emerging area of research. In one earlier study that I discussed, a combination of antibody therapy with chemotherapy suppressed breast cancer tumor growth, reduced metastasis, and caused the actual regression of breast cancer tumors in half of the mice tested. Finding effective antibodies will be important for the development of effective chemoimmunotherapy combinations.
A new breast cancer research study in mice examined the effectiveness of a mouse antibody, MAG-1, alone on human breast cancer cells transplanted into mice. For this study, mice were transplanted with either hormone sensitive human breast cancer cells or triple negative breast cancer cells and then treated with either a short-term (4 doses over 6 days) or longer-term (daily dose over 16 days) antibody-based immunotherapy. The study investigators reported that
Short-term antibody treatment substantially reduced the size of both estrogen-sensitive and triple negative breast cancer tumors.
After short-term treatment was stopped, breast cancer tumors started growing again.
Long-term daily treatment with the mouse antibody dramatically shrank both types of breast cancer tumors.
Breast cancer tumors treated long-term did not start to regrow during the 20 days of observation after antibody immunotherapy was stopped.
Examination of the breast cancer tumors showed that nearly 70% of them underwent extensive cell death after immunotherapy.
These are very exciting initial results for this mouse antibody. This particular antibody has been shown to bind to a protein called provasopression and production of this protein has been reported to be involved in early breast cancer formation. While the exact way that this antibody causes breast cancer tumor regression isn't fully clear yet, it is possible that it might interfere with the breast cancer promoting functions of this protein. While more research is clearly needed to determine the effectiveness of this antibody in human breast cancer patients either alone or in combination with various chemotherapy drugs, other antibodies are already being tested in human clinical trials. A recent study (free to download) published just a couple of weeks ago reported that the combination of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel with the antibody IMP321 provided clinical benefit to 90% of the metastatic breast cancer patients and prevented breast cancer progression in 27 of the 30 patients at 6 months. The discovery of new antibodies and new chemoimmunotherapy procedures appears to be progressing rapidly and showing excellent potential for breast cancer patients.
While safer and more effective breast cancer treatments are needed for breast cancer patients, it is also important to remember that there are things we can do ourselves to reduce our chances of developing breast cancer. Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer to learn about some of the things you can do.