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Brain tumors, meet macrophages
A protein called CD47 is often expressed on the surface of tumor cells, where it serves as a “don’t eat me” signal that blocks macrophages from attacking the tumor. To overcome this signal and allow the macrophages to “eat” tumor cells, Gholamin et al. engineered a humanized antibody that blocks CD47 signaling. The researchers tested the efficacy of this antibody in patient-derived xenograft models of a variety of pediatric brain tumors. The treatment was successful at inhibiting CD47, killing tumor cells, and prolonging the animals’ survival, all without toxic effects on normal tissues.
Morbidity and mortality associated with pediatric malignant primary brain tumors remain high in the absence of effective therapies. Macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of tumor cells via blockade of the anti-phagocytic CD47-SIRPα interaction using anti-CD47 antibodies has shown promise in preclinical xenografts of various human malignancies. We demonstrate the effect of a humanized anti-CD47 antibody, Hu5F9-G4, on five aggressive and etiologically distinct pediatric brain tumors: group 3 medulloblastoma (primary and metastatic), atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, primitive neuroectodermal tumor, pediatric glioblastoma, and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Hu5F9-G4 demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in vitro and in vivo in patient-derived orthotopic xenograft models. Intraventricular administration of Hu5F9-G4 further enhanced its activity against disseminated medulloblastoma leptomeningeal disease. Notably, Hu5F9-G4 showed minimal activity against normal human neural cells in vitro and in vivo, a phenomenon reiterated in an immunocompetent allograft glioma model. Thus, Hu5F9-G4 is a potentially safe and effective therapeutic agent for managing multiple pediatric central nervous system malignancies.
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