The anti-body was found to inhibit growth of the malignant glioma cells, inducing an attenuation of growth. Surprisingly, the survival rate was also extended. Following these promising findings, it is hoped that human clinical trials of the immunotherapy would be initiated soon.
Animal models (mice) were created to represent human models of the malignant disease by Dr. Jin Kim (Galaxy Biotech) and Dr. John Laterra (Kennedy Krieger Institute). A study was then devised to test the effectiveness and safety of the monoclonal anti-body in the glioma treatment. Implantation of L2G7 under the skin was found to produce complete inhibition of the tumor while better results (tumor inhibition, tumor regression and enhanced survival rate) were seen following implantation in the brain.
The novel monoclonal anti-body, developed by Dr. Kim and his research team targeted the inhibition of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), believed to play a major role in the further growth and spread of cancer by accelerating cell division, inducing formation of blood vessels and increasing resistance to chemotherapy drugs. The successful incorporation of the antibody, surpassing the 'blood-brain barrier' (BBB) proved to be a challenging task for the researchers.
Mice were treated with either L2G7 or a placebo, the results of which turned to be in favor of the monoclonal antibody, probably due to its specificity. The main advantage of this treatment modality is that it minimizes chances of neighboring tissue damage and the side effects.
Brain tumors account for significant mortality in children below 20 years of age. Conventional therapies have a very limited role to play in the treatment of brain tumors. The researchers have expressed hope over extrapolating the above finding which has already been proved successful in the treatment of lung, breast and colon cancer.