This week we are in Lund, a city at the Southern tip of Sweden, where a new antibody treatment for cancer is being developed.
Mission: Cantargia is developing an antibody, CAN04, that specifically targets a cell surface receptor, IL1RAP, which is only found on malignant stem cells. IL1RAP creates an environment that encourages cancer growth. CAN404 fights cancer by activating killer cells of the immune system and preventing the release of signals from cancer that can stimulate its growth. The approach has been developed to treat non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
A Phase I study was carried out to ensure the safety of the drug at incremental doses, and a suitable dose was chosen for subsequent studies. A Phase IIa study is planned to test therapeutic efficacy and safety in a larger sample of patients.
Comment: Cancer causes over 8 million deaths each year, so new, effective cancer treatments are much needed. CAN04 can both alert the immune system to cancer cells and prevent further tumor growth is an exciting concept, and it could revolutionize this area. The upcoming Phase IIa study will show us just how well this technology transfers to the clinic.
Cantargia has also started to develop antibodies for the treatment of other conditions, for example, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. It will be interesting to follow the progress of this technique and see if it has the versatility to treat a range of different diseases.
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