Can a unique antibody curb cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Antibodies are usually part of our immune response to infections, but now are being constructed in the laboratory to fight cancer, with a recent study demonstrating just how effective they can be against a type of blood cancer. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes them.

Nelson: These are so-called bispecific T cell engaging antibodies. What’s in play here is that the biopharma industry has gotten very clever about making protein drugs, particularly antibodies. Antibodies have this quirky structure. They look like a Y. The two tops of the Y are the places where they bind specific things, usually in the natural state they bind the same thing. But the biopharma industry can create them such that one binds one thing and another binds another. Hence the bispecific, they bind two specific things.  :32

Nelson says these antibodies bind a cancer cell receptor and a T cell, which can then kill the cancer cell. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.