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  • Glenn Hearson

Assessment of FucosylGM1 expression in small cell lung carcinoma via antibody (SC134) binding

We have recently commenced a new study funded by Scancell Limited and led by Dr Samuel Kemp of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.


Assessment of FucosylGM1 expression in small cell lung carcinoma via antibody (SC134) binding 

Assessment of FucosylGM1 expression in small cell lung carcinoma via antibody (SC134) binding
Cancer Cells

What is the purpose of the study?

We are working to develop new treatments for cancer. Cancer cells have sugar molecules on their surface and they change these sugars to help them become more aggressive, and as a shield to avoid detection by immune cells. These altered sugars are ideal targets for any new cancer treatments. We are investigating new drugs, called antibodies, which attach to the sugars and kill the cancer cells.




 




Scancell, the study sponsor, has developed an antibody that is extremely specific for one of these sugars called FucosylGM1. This sugar (attached to a lipid) is present in large quantities in a type of lung cancer called small cell lung cancer (SCLC), but absent or present only in very small amounts on normal healthy cells. To make the antibody more potent we have linked it to an anti-cancer drug so that the antibody delivers the drug into the cancer cell and kills it. The antibody can also be used to help a patient’s own immune cells fight the cancer:  by steering a group of immune cells called T-cells to directly attack cancer cells.

 

A large fraction, approximately 60-80%, of SCLC tumours express this sugar-lipid, but it has also been shown that not all cancer cells have the same amount or shape of the sugar on their surface.  It is important to have a better understanding of the distribution of the sugar on cancer cells in order to develop the antibody into a potential cancer therapy for SCLC.

 

The main aim of this study is to assess the sugar-lipid distribution pattern on the cancer cells in SCLC cases in order to find which patients with SCLC might benefit from antibody therapy. We need to collect lung biopsy samples from patients being investigated for possible lung cancer so that we can look at any cancer cells in the laboratory and analyse them for the presence and distribution of the sugar-lipid.

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