Yale Cancer Center Study Demonstrates Promise for Novel Immunotherapy Approach to Fight Melanoma

In a new study led by the Yale Cancer Center, researchers have advanced a tumor-targeting and cell-penetrating antibody that can deliver payloads to stimulate an immune response to help treat melanoma. The study was presented on April 11, 2021 at the virtual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021 (Week 1: April 9-14; Week 2: May 17-21) (https://www.aacr.org/meeting/aacr-annual-meeting-2021/). "Most approaches rely on direct injection into tumors of ribonucleic acids (RNAs) or other molecules to boost the immune response, but this is not practical in the clinic, especially for patients with advanced cancer," said Peter M. Glazer, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale, Chief of Radiation Oncology at Smilow Cancer Hospital, and senior author of the study. "In this study, we can deliver immune stimulatory RNA to tumors in vivo following systemic administration." RNA is a nucleic acid present in all living cells. Its principal role is to act as a messenger to carry instructions from DNA to control the synthesis of proteins, although, in some viruses, RNA rather than DNA carries the genetic information. In this study, using mice with melanoma tumors, members of the Glazer lab at Yale achieved almost complete tumor suppression upon intravenous injection of antibody/RNA complexes. "These results are very encouraging," added Dr. Glazer.
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