Cancer Therapy May Also Benefit MS Patients

Antibody blocks cancer-spreading molecules; anti-inflammatory response may help MS patients

(RxWiki News) Rochester drug company Vaccinex, Inc., a spinoff from the University of Rochester, has seen some success with its antibody therapy for combatting cancer.

The antibody in this case (known as VX15/2503) blocks the development of semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D) molecules. Blocking SEMA4D is important because SEMA4D helps move tumor cells to other parts of the body. Retarding or preventing this process will allow other treatments more time to function.

The antibody VX15/2503 also shows promise for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps stop spread of the disease. Multiple scleros is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks nerve cells.

The Food and Drugs Administration approved a phase I clinical trial of VX15/2503. Vaccinex is now gearing up to assess the antibody's success in blocking SEMA4D in multiple sclerosis patients in a second clinical trial.

Dr. John Basile, professor of oncology at the University of Maryland Dental School, said a lot of cancer treatments attack healthy cells whereas this antibody targets tumors. Attacking the tumor instead of healthy cells is always better for the patients' health.

Review Date: 
January 6, 2011