Associate Professor Martin Lackmann and his team at Monash University’s School of Biomedical Sciences have spent the past 15 years researching a tumour ‘marker’ found on leukemic stem cells, which can be specifically targeted by a new drug without affecting healthy cells.
The drug, KB004, is an antibody drug that binds to the marker before destroying the leukemic cells. The same marker is also present on solid tumours, such as with brain, lung, colon and prostate cancers. Because the marker is rarely present on healthy, non-cancerous cells, the drug leaves them unaffected.
With the help of US-based bio-tech company, KaloBios Phamaceuticals, and a number of Australian collaborators like Professors Andrew Boyd from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Andrew Scott from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and Dr Andrew Wei from Alfred Hospital, the drug is now in phase 2 clinical trials.
Pending results of these trials, the drug could be further developed to target solid tumours as well. Dr Lackmann said that he and his team believe that it could “…provide significant benefit to patients with a broad range of cancer types, given its potential to affect tumour growth through several distinct mechanisms.”
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[img source] NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre (CCA 2.0) bit.ly/1qXKMeQ