Antibody treatment is found to reactivate the immune defence in patients with advanced-stage cancer, by altering the function of the body's phagocytes and facilitating extensive activation of the immune system, as per a study at the the University of Turku, Finland, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research publication series.
The immune defence is the body's own defence system equipped to combat cancer, especially via a type of white blood cell called macrophages. But cancer cells tend to hijack this system and harnesses it to promote its own growth. Thus restoring the body's immune defence by altering the activity of macrophages might restrict the advancement of cancer.
The study team along with the collaboration from Faron Pharmaceuticals had developed an antibody - Bexmarilimab that is under clinical trials. The changes occurring in the defence systems of patients with cancer were studied by the team, following antibody treatment.
It was found that the antibody treatment activated killer T cells (body's strike force against cancer) in the majority of patients who had very advanced and poorly treatable cancers. The suppressive potential of macrophage precursors travelling in the blood circulation was also successfully lowered by the treatment. And an increase in certain mediators of inflammation and types of white blood cell in the blood were also observed by the team.
Therefore, the findings not only demonstrated the effectiveness of Bexmarilimab in patients with poor treatment response but also shed light on the drug's mode of action. The antibody alters the function of macrophages by binding with the molecule Clever-1 present on it.
Clever-1 transports material needless to the body inside macrophages to be degraded and this is beneficial for the body's natural balance and to avoid stirring the immune defence unnecessarily.
"However, cells originating from cancer should be detected. When the antibody is used to block Clever-1 from performing its cleaning job, it facilitates the activation of cells of the immune defence. This in part leads to the waking up of the T cells in patients", says the Doctoral Candidate of the study, Miro Viitala.
Thus the present study demonstrated the added benefits of Bexmarilimab when compared with other drug treatments against cancer currently on the market.