Activatable antibodies in targeted therapies
Among all cancers, one of the most prevalent types with the worst prognosis is glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM is a very invasive brain tumour that current treatments are not very effective against. It is a rather heterogeneous tumour and, in order to attempt to treat it, eradicating different types of cells responsible for the growth, resistance, and regeneration of the tumour is necessary.
Antibodies offer efficient treatment options for many diseases, especially in oncology, either as therapeutic molecules or for targeting other drugs to the affected part of the body. However, the target molecules are often present not only in the tumour, but also in other healthy tissues. In recent years it has been shown that antibodies sensitive to tumour-specific stimuli are capable of selectively recognizing targets found on tumour cells. Thus, these activatable antibodies can aid in developing more efficient targeted therapies.
Dr Benjamí Oller, a researcher with the Materials Engineering Group (GEMAT) at the IQS School of Engineering, is working on the development of a targeted therapy that can successfully address glioblastoma treatments. His research work at IQS began in 2019 with a Marie Sklodowska-Curie project entitled TargetGBM. Recently, Dr Oller has obtained a grant from the “La Caixa” Junior Leader Fellowships programme to further expand his research.
Following the path he launched in these two projects, the team of researchers led by Dr Oller is working on the development of different targeted therapies that can be activated with antibodies and peptides. Dr Oller has also recently received a grant from the Semilla programme with the Spanish Cancer Society (AECC) to work on new types of activatable antibodies against a specific marker of resistant cancer cells.
This new technology of activatable antibodies could lead the creation of new targeted therapies, especially towards tumour cells, with greater efficacy and safety.