Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a killing type of blood and bone marrow cancer. According to Dr. Chengcheng, the 5-year survival rate is 27% in the US after treatment. It kills almost 10,000 people annually.
A harmful molecule called LILRB4 is present in the case of AML which inhibits the defensive role of white blood cells. In this way, cancer spreads to bone marrow, blood, liver, and brain.
The scientists at research studied monocytic leukemia cells. The hardworking and combined effort of scientists at UT Southwestern and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston successfully designed an antibody against LILRB4 molecules.
Scientists first studied the mechanism which this molecule uses to inhibit white blood from their function. Then they created an antibody to disarm the role of LILRB4 and reactivate white blood cells.
The two institutions tested the antibody on a mouse model injected with human leukemia cells. Dr. Zhang is hopeful for the approval of human clinical trials by FDA in future because of his belief in the achievement. Preclinical studies are being conducted at California-based Immuno-Onc Therapeutics Inc. This was allowed by the UT system. Different institutions placed their share in form of funds for the research.
Three factors encouraged the trust of scientists in the creation of LILRB4 Antibody. Firstly that LILRB4 molecules are present at cell surface so antibody could approach it easily. Secondly, therapy could be targeted at a specific site. Thirdly, LILRB4 has a limited expression in normal cells so this would create an easy targeting methodology with minimum toxicity for rest of the body.
Combined efforts of great scientists and many institutions made the research successful which would save the lives of many AML patients in the future.