Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have identified ten new antibodies that can possibly prevent cancer tumours from growing.
The antibodies work by inhibiting the body’s blood vessel formation close to the tumour which is, thereby, cut off from oxygen and nutrient supply.
The researchers have tested some of the antibodies on mice and have succeeded in using them to stop the development of malignant tumours.
“The antibodies we have found prevent a cancer tumour from growing. They appear to work perfectly in the laboratory,” said associate Professor Peter Kristensen.
The new antibodies are easier to extract and they also appear to be more effective because they hit other and possibly stronger signal molecules from the cancer cells.
“We have got a large library of antibodies that can supplement the body’s own fight against disease. The major engineering challenge is identifying the ones that are relevant regarding the specific purpose,” Kristensen explained.
The antibodies neutralise the effects of signal substances released by carcinoma cells to get blood vessels to replicate, thus cutting off the blood supply to the tumour.
A cancer tumour deprived of oxygen and nutrients becomes dormant and is, thereby, made harmless. If it receives a supply from the bloodstream, however, it grows and spreads, and the researchers appear to be able to prevent this deadly process.
The researchers will work on gaining a more in-depth understanding of the ten antibodies in the upcoming years.
Meanwhile, associate Professor Kristensen said, “In the coming years, we’ll study how they behave in different test systems. This will provide us with insight that can be valuable in the long term when developing new cancer drugs.”