Scientists develop new immunotherapy for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men worldwide.
By Amy Wallace  |  Aug. 17, 2017 at 2:52 PM
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Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Researchers at The Wistar Institute have created a new immunotherapy technology to treat prostate cancer using synthetic DNA against a cancer specific protein.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men worldwide. Most current treatment options are invasive, which can impair the quality of life of patients. Immunotherapy may provide a less invasive option, researchers say.

Wistar researchers involved in a recent study, published today in Cancer Immunology & Immunotherapy, used synthetic DNA to directly encode protective antibodies against a cancer-specific protein known as DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody, or DMab for cancer immunotherapy.

"This is an important demonstration of the possibilities opened up for immunotherapy by DMAb technology to direct in vivo production of antibodies of major relevance to human cancer," Dr. David Weiner, executive vice president of The Wistar Institute and director of The Wistar Institute Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, said in a press release.

Researchers created a new DNA-based method involving an engineered DNA plasmid used to deliver instructions to make the desired anti-prostate specific membrane antigen, or PSMA, elicit an anti-tumor immune system response to control cancer.

The method was tested in mice, with researchers finding that antibodies were able to bind to cancer cells and use specific immune cells known as natural killer cells that resulted in tumor shrinkage and improved survival.

"There is a great need for such new approaches for prostate disease as well as many other cancers," Weiner said. "As recent data suggest, PSMA is an important cancer antigen expressed on many human prostate, bladder, renal as well as ovarian cancers, so additional study of the possible benefits of this therapy are important."

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