Anti-CD47: The Ultimate Cure for Cancer?

Monday, April 15, 2013 Stef dela Cruz 1 Comments

I found it hard to resist the urge to blog about something I read online last night. Apparently, the ultimate cure for cancer – not just one, but apparently all types of cancer – has been discovered. It comes in the form of anti-CD47, an antibody meant to fight a cell protein found mostly in cancer cells.

Anti-CD47: Ultimate Cancer Cure?Have we finally found the cure for cancer?

But is this for real? Are we really there? Or are we a long way from conquering the dreaded Big C?

Anti-CD47: The Real Deal

Stanford University’s Irving Weissman found out about how CD47, a cell protein, is found in higher amounts inside leukemia cells than in cancer-free cells. It’s also found in many cancer-free blood cells that roam the body. Weissman and his team theorized that the reason behind this is that CD47 helps “cloak” cells from white blood cells that scavenge for diseased or foreign cells.

In a nutshell: The body’s soldier cells can’t detect a cell that has CD47. It’s like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. Unfortunately, that means cancer cells can escape the immune system’s radar.

How CD47 Antibodies Might Cure Cancer

If CD47 helps cancer cells escape detection in the body, it makes sense that producing antibodies against them will help expose these cancer cells, yes? Well, that’s what Weissman and his colleagues thought – and that’s what brings us to this promising cancer cure that I speak of.

Take note: Irving Weissman is not just some quack trying to make headlines. He is the past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). At Stanford, Weissman is also a Professor of Pathology & Developmental Biology. He also happens to be the Director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology at the same university. His work revolves mainly around myeloid and lymphoid lineages from stem cells of the blood.

The good news is, Weissman’s current study is really promising. The CD47 antibody (called anti-CD47) has worked to eliminate cancer cells and tumors in mice. Here’s a summary of their research findings:

  • Only one mouse out of 10 mice with bladder cancer tumors who received anti-CD47 had lymph node involvement, compared to 10 out of 10 mice who didn’t receive the treatment.
  • Mice with colon cancer receiving anti-CD47 showed tumor shrinkage to just about 30 percent of the original size.
  • Five mice with breast cancer cells became cancer-free up to four months after anti-CD47 treatment. The mice were completely rid of breast cancer cells after anti-CD47 treatment.

The results of the animal studies were impressive. They were so impressive, in fact, that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has given Weissman and his colleagues a $20M grant. He and his team will proceed to human studies.

That means we aren’t quite there yet. It might work on mice, but how anti-CD47 behaves in humans is unchartered territory. But because Weissman’s research shows such promise, I’m crossing my fingers.

If studies show that anti-CD47 cancer treatment works, then we just might be closer to getting rid of cancer for good. How the world of research holds its breath until that day comes. And so shall I.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and a cat welfare column in The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene. Add her to your circles.

1 comment:

  1. hi steph

    In France, the ultimate cure, is still a pilgrimage and water blessed in Lourdes city ( huge french buisness )

    Every year , a jury of serious physicians, look into the files of possibility of miracles..

    clem

    ReplyDelete

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