Research ArticleCancer

A PTK7-targeted antibody-drug conjugate reduces tumor-initiating cells and induces sustained tumor regressions

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Jan 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 372, eaag2611
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag2611

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Initiating an antitumor attack

Cancer is notorious for relapsing after treatment, making it difficult to eradicate from a patient’s body. Such relapses are driven by tumor-initiating cells, a type of stem cells that give rise to tumors. Damelin et al. determined that a protein called PTK7 is frequently present on tumor-initiating cells and developed an antibody-drug conjugate for targeting it. The authors demonstrated the effectiveness of this therapy in mouse models of several tumor types and confirmed that it reduces tumor-initiating cells and outperforms standard chemotherapy. The antibody-drug conjugate also had some unexpected benefits, reducing tumor angiogenesis and promoting antitumor immunity, all of which may contribute to its effectiveness.