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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Antibody-Linked Drug Found to Kill Tumors in Mice, Avoid Side Effects

August 08, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

A highly toxic cancer drug linked to antibodies and directed against a protein on the surface of cancer cells can completely eradicate human colon tumors grown in mice without producing adverse side effects, researchers from ImmunoGen Inc. reported in the Aug. 6 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common malignancies, striking about 140,000 Americans each year, killing 55,000. Surgery is the most common treatment.

The team from the Cambridge, Mass., company used a drug called DM1 that is highly effective at killing cancer cells, but is so toxic to healthy cells that it cannot be used in high enough concentrations to be effective in animals. Linking it to an antibody carries it directly to tumor cells, so that other cells remain largely unaffected.

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