NEW ORLEANS--A monoclonal antibody isolated from a patient with stomach cancer appeared to cause specific cell death in tumors when infused into patients with stomach cancer prior to surgery, H. Peter Vollmers, PhD, said at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting. To look for an antibody that might target stomach cancer, the researchers removed B cells from the spleen of a patient with a diffuse adenocarcino-ma of the stomach and then isolated antibodies, said Dr. Vollmers, professor of experimental pathology, University of Würzburg, Germany.
He and his co-workers found that one of these antibodies, SC-1, could inhibit the growth of stomach cancer both in vitro and in vivo. They then produced SC-1 monoclonally to test as a therapy.
In a phase I/II clinical trial, the researchers infused SC-1 into 14 patients with stomach cancer 2 days before gastrectomy. The antibody appeared to cause no serious complications or toxicity. After treatment, 90% of patients showed signs that a significant number of tumor cells were undergoing apoptosis (Figure 1); 50% of the primary tumors showed regressive changes, and 70% of patients ended up with tumor-free lymph nodes, compared with the usual 20%. He concluded that monoclonal antibody therapy for stomach cancer looks promising and needs to be studied further.