Stanford Researchers get funding for pediatric clinical trials of anti-CD47 cancer therapy

The Stanford team includes Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD; Irv Weissman, MD; Sam Cheshier, MD; Jens-Peter Volkmer, MD; and Sid Mitra, PhD. The clinical trial will likely begin sometime in the next two years, the researchers say.

CD47 is a protein that acts as a “don’t-eat-me” signal to immune cells called macrophages. Normally, macrophage cells will consume and destroy cells that are damaged, infected or cancerous. But most cancers display a large amount of CD47 protein, which protects the cancer from attack by the body’s immune system. Blocking the CD47 signal using custom-tailored antibodies can help the macrophages attack and destroy cancer cells.

By Christopher Vaughan

Researchers at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital have been awarded $1.37 million from the charity CureSearch for Children’s Cancer to fund a pediatric clinical trial of a cancer therapy using antibodies to the protein CD47.

Years of experiments have shown that anti-CD47 antibodies can be effective against human cancers in animal models. The clinical trial of this cancer therapy in pediatric patients will complement a clinical trial of the anti-CD47 therapy in adult cancer patients that is expected to start in 2014.

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer is a national non-profit foundation that aims to “fund and support targeted and innovative children’s cancer research with measurable results.” It is also a source of information and resources for those affected by children’s cancer.

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