New antibody targets and cures melanomas: Study 2023

A novel antibody is tested to treat melanomas. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London researchers published it today in Nature Communications. The antibody boosts the immune system and slows melanoma growth in mice.

Malignant melanoma has a five-year survival rate of 50%. Despite advances in immunotherapies, many patients’ malignancies still don’t respond. This drug may help unresponsive melanoma patients.
Many cancer immunotherapies are IgG-based. King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ researchers have discovered an IgE antibody that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer.

A novel immunotherapy class is promising for the most aggressive skin cancer.

Researchers created an IgE antibody that targets chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 (CSPG4), a marker present on 70% of malignant melanoma cells. This novel antibody targets immune responses exclusively to melanoma cells, unlike conventional immunotherapies.

CSPG4 IgE attached to and activated immune cells in melanoma patient blood to attack cancer cells. In mice transplanted with human immune cells, including those from melanoma patients, CSPG4 IgE therapy inhibited cancer progression. CSPG4 IgE did not activate patient blood basophils, suggesting the medication may be safe.

“We have shown that IgE immunotherapy for melanoma can trigger an immune response and that this applies to human melanomas and melanoma patient immune responses,” stated Dr. Heather Bax, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London. Our findings support the development of IgE therapies for other solid tumors and confirm the first anti-cancer IgE, MOv18 IgE, which targets ovarian cancer.

“Four in ten people with advanced melanoma do not respond to available treatments,” stated Professor Sophia Karagiannis, St. John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London. Our findings suggest that IgE-based medicines could fight melanoma by altering the immune system’s reaction. This opens up the possibility of this new class of medications benefiting multiple patient groups and a new cancer battlefront.”

Professor James Spicer, from King’s College London and a Consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have recently completed the first ever trial testing an IgE therapy for cancer (MOv18 IgE), and are excited about the prospect of a whole new class of antibody drugs in oncology. King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ research groups collaborate closely.

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