Singapore Scientists Discover New Cancer Immunotherapy

Scientists created an antibody that targets the PRL-3 protein that is found in 80% of 11 common cancers.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 2 — Singaporean scientists have created an antibody drug to treat cancer, a form of immunotherapy that uses the immune system to specifically attack cancer cells without touching healthy ones.

Channel News Asia reported that according to the scientific study published in the journal Nature Communications on June 6, the scientists had generated PRL3-zumab, a humanised antibody. 

PRL3-zumab targets the PRL-3 protein, a tumour antigen that promotes cancer growth and is reportedly found in about 80 per cent of 11 common cancers. 

The targeted antibody does not attack nearby healthy cells that do not express PRL-3. 

“PRL3-zumab represents an innovative and disruptive approach to cancer therapy, as it is highly targeted to cancer cells and has less side effects compared to traditional cancer drugs,” lead researcher Professor Qi Zeng, who is also research director at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), was quoted saying.

The IMCB research team’s tests on animals discovered that the PRL-3 mouse antibody was able to suppress tumour growths that expressed the antigen in breast, liver, lung, gastric, ovary, kidney and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cancers.

Similar results were found when the PRL3-zumab antibody was used on human tumour samples, including liver, lung, breast, colon, gastric, and kidney cancers.

Channel News Asia reported that Phase 1 clinical trials were completed at the National University Cancer Institute last year, with Phase 2 coming up soon to test for proof of concept of the targeted therapy and its efficacy.

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