MabCure's blood test for ovarian cancer gets positive results
12 August 2010
Cancer diagnostics developer MabCure, Inc. has announced that
a confirmatory study demonstrated the company’s proprietary monoclonal
antibodies (MAbs) successfully identified ovarian cancer in blood (94%
accuracy) and with no false positives or cross-reactions with benign
ovarian tumours or healthy blood.
MabCure says its serum diagnostic test is the first to recognize
unique tumour markers or cancer fingerprints present only in ovarian
cancer, the deadliest of all gynecological cancers.
“The availability of a simple blood test with the ability to
diagnose the presence of ovarian cancer early and to differentiate
it from benign tumours has the potential to save thousands of lives
and reduce the need for unnecessary surgeries,” said Amnon Gonenne,
Ph.D., CEO of MabCure. “Our findings are an important step in that
direction and also have significant implications for the future
development of cancer-specific targeted therapies.”
All antibodies currently approved to treat cancer are considered
“targeted therapies” but not against exclusive cancer targets. These
antibodies target normal proteins that are over-expressed by cancer
cells in some patients, but are also found in normal cells. In
contrast, MabCure’s MAbs recognize markers or antigens that are
apparently unique to all cancer cells of a given type. MabCure’s
study, along with a growing body of research, suggest a paradigm
shift toward treatments that only target cancer cells without
harming any normal cells.
MabCure conducted a blinded study of several of its ovarian
cancer MAbs against 54 different blood samples in collaboration with
the Department of Gynecological Oncology at UZ Hospital in Leuven,
Belgium. The samples were comprised of 17 patients with ovarian
cancer, 5 patients with benign tumours of the ovaries, 24 healthy
young females and 8 males. Results showed that each of MabCure’s
MAbs correctly diagnosed 16 of the 17 ovarian cancers, with a
diagnostic sensitivity of 94% and 100% correct diagnosis of benign
This study confirms findings from an earlier study, which
demonstrated the ability of each of the antibodies tested by MabCure
to detect low levels of ovarian cancer-specific antigens in the
blood of patients. Namely, a number of patients who were judged to
be in clinical remission, following chemotherapy, were found to
still have residual disease by MabCure’s MAbs. All of these patients
had baseline levels of the standard ovarian cancer marker, CA-125,
in their blood, suggesting that MabCure’s MAbs serum marker test may
be effective in detecting early-stage disease when the level of
circulating cancer antigens in the blood is presumably low.
The antibodies developed for detecting ovarian cancer and used in
the MabCure study were created by MabCure’s proprietary hybridoma
technology and carefully selected from more than 30,000 MAbs, all of
which recognize ovarian cancer. MabCure is currently seeking patents
for these discoveries. In addition, it is evaluating its other MAbs
for early diagnostic tests of prostate cancer and colon cancer.
MabCure business strategy is to use such discoveries as the basis
for the development of highly specific imaging agents and a new
generation of targeted anti-cancer drugs.
MabCure will soon commence a follow-on study in collaboration
with one of the foremost experts in women’s cancers, Ignace Vergote,
M.D., Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and
Gynaecologic Oncology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
The study will access a large number of previously collected
clinical blood samples stored at the Bio-bank of the Catholic
University Hospital, Leuven.
Following the conclusion of this study, MabCure plans to launch a
multi-center prospective trial in Europe and in the U.S., as well as
initiate commercialization of its diagnostic ovarian cancer MAbs in
Europe through strategic partnerships and licensing. In parallel,
MabCure plans to embark on the regulatory process for obtaining
marketing approval in the U.S.
MabCure is currently evaluating the diagnostic potential of it
MAbs in detecting ovarian cancer in high-risk patients in a clinical
study in Thailand.