Researchers to test novel drug combination against toughest breast cancers
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IMAGE: Three-dimensional culture of human breast cancer cells, with DNA stained blue and a protein in the cell surface membrane stained green. view more 

Credit: Image courtesy of National Institutes of Health

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have launched a phase Ib clinical trial to assess the safety and tolerability of cirmtuzumab, in combination with standard chemotherapy, to treat metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer that cannot be surgically removed.

Cirmtuzumab is a novel monoclonal antibody developed at UC San Diego, with support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the CIRM-funded Alpha Clinic at UC San Diego. It targets ROR1, a cell surface protein that is present on tumors, but not in normal adult tissues, making it “a vital opportunity for targeting cancer stem cells” said Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, Alpha Clinic director who also directs stem cell research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Originally developed by Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and deputy director of research at Moores Cancer Center, and colleagues as a potential treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), cirmtuzumab is currently being considered and tested for other cancers as well.

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