April 12, 2010

New Enemy Against Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer -- a major killer in woman -- has a new enemy, according to Austrian researchers who are hopeful a new antibody they found might step up the fight against the deadly disease.

Known as AD5-10, the antibody helps weaken the resistance of cancer cells in the body's immune system, said the University of Vienna researchers whose work was published Monday.

AD5-10 reduced the resistance of tumors on the protein Tumor Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL). The TRAIL protein is used to induce cancer cells to commit suicide. Some of the tumor cells fail to react to the protein however, making ovarian cancer the most fatal form of reproductive disease.

The Austrian finding offers new hope in the improved treatment of ovarian cancer. "We were able to show in both cell cultures and animal models that TRAIL resistant ovarian cancer tumor cells become sensitive to TRAIL again if TRAIL and AD5-10 are both present at the same time," said Michael Krainer, who led the studies at the university's Faculty of Medicine.

The antibody attaches itself to a different part of the cancer cell than the TRAIL protein, which is possibly why it has a more effective outcome, the team said. It has also made several other drugs used for chemotherapy more effective.

"We were able to show in cell cultures that the combined effect of AD5-10 and carboplatin (a common chemotherapy agent) was greater than the sum of their effects when administered individually," Krainer told AFP.

Tests on animals showed that the antibody can eliminate resistance to carboplatin, Krainer added. But, according to the research, the antibody only worked when lymphocytes NK were present in the tumor at the same time the antibody was administered.

According to numbers released by the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in the US in 2009.


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