This New 'Trojan Horse' Drug Successfully Treated 6 Types of Cancer Tumor

A toxic antibody is the latest weapon to show promise as a broad spectrum treatment for multiple forms of advanced cancer.

Dubbed a 'Trojan horse' approach to chemotherapy, the new drug has proven itself worthy of moving up the chain of clinical trials to being tested on a greater variety of patients. It's not a fabled cure-all, but this approach might be as close as we're going to get.

Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust tested the new treatment in a clinical trial involving 147 patients to evaluate its potential benefits and risks of side effects.

Called tisotumab vedotin, or simply TV for short, the drug is made up of a monoclonal antibody, and a cytotoxic component which can fatally damage cells.

The antibody, if you like, is the spectacular gift horse at the enemy's door - it seeks out cell-signalling flags in membranes called tissue factors and demands entry.

While all kinds of healthy cells have this factor, a wide variety of tumours exploit it as a way to grow out of control, making it an appealing target for the cytotoxic seek-and-destroy chemical weapon.

In this case, the component tasked with this murderous job is monomethyl auristatin E, a molecule that prevents cells from reproducing.

"What is so exciting about this treatment is that its mechanism of action is completely novel – it acts like a Trojan horse to sneak into cancer cells and kill them from the inside," says oncologist Johann de Bono from TheInstitute of Cancer Research.

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