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Small antibody fragments 'could help determine breast cancer treatments'
Doctors could receive help identifying the breast cancer treatments most likely to benefit patients after scientists raised new small antibody fragments in camels.
If the new so-called nanobody agents prove effective during clinical trials, they could lead to advancements in the treatment of the disease, said researchers conducting the study, which was published in the FASEB Journal.
Dr Ilse Vaneycken and her colleagues began with the target of the therapeutic drugs HER2 and immunised a dromedary camel to raise special antibodies unique to this species for their research, in order to make their discovery.
The unnecessary parts of the antibodies were removed and they were cloned in bacteria, before the team selected the 40 nanobodies that bound to the site targeted by the breast cancer drugs.
From these 40 nanobodies, the researchers looked for compounds which picked out breast cancer cells with the HER2 tag, which they found their lead compound to do.
"This technique not only promises to help doctors target cancer cells with effective drugs today, but to pick out other discrete cancer targets in the future," said Dr Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief at the FASEB Journal.
An international panel of cancer experts recently said women who have more than a four per cent risk of getting breast cancer in the next ten years should be offered preventative measures.
Posted by Alexandra George