New study could revive once-promising immunotherapies for treating solid tumors

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New research from UVA Cancer Center could rescue once-promising immunotherapies for treating solid cancer tumors, such as ovarian, colon and triple-negative breast cancer, that ultimately failed in human clinical trials.
The research from Jogender Tushir-Singh, PhD, explains why the antibody approaches effectively killed cancer tumors in lab tests but proved ineffective in people. He found that the approaches had an unintended effect on the human immune system that potentially disabled the immune response they sought to enhance.

The new findings allowed Tushir-Singh to increase the approaches' effectiveness significantly in lab models, reducing tumor size and improving overall survival. The promising results suggest the renewed potential for the strategies in human patients, he and his team report.

So far, researchers and protein engineers around the globe, including our research group, were focused on super-charging and super-activating tumor cell-death receptor targeting antibodies in the fight against cancer. Here at UVA, we took a comprehensive approach to harness the power of the immune system to create dual-specificity and potentially clinically effective oncologic therapeutics for solid tumors. Our findings also have significant potential to improve further the clinical efficacy of currently FDA-approved PD-L1 targeting antibodies in solid tumors, particularly the ones approved for deadly triple-negative breast cancer." Jogender Tushir-Singh, PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, UVA School of Medicine

Immunotherapy for solid tumors

Immunotherapy aims to harness the body's immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Lab-engineered antibodies remain the core facilitator of immunotherapies and CAR T-cell therapies, which have generated tremendous excitement in the last decade.…
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