Researching new treatments
We need new treatments that target all types of secondary breast cancer cells before they have the chance to grow into tumours wherever they may be in the body.
Secondary breast cancer is currently a managed disease; there is no ‘cure’. This is because it is impossible to know if every breast cancer cell that has moved from the breast has been targeted and destroyed. Some tumour types are resistant to treatments that are currently available and resistance can also develop over time.
Against Breast Cancer is working with expert scientists at the University of Oxford’s Glycoprotein Therapeutic Laboratory to investigate how to target treatment to secondary cancers. This will enable cancer-destroying drugs to be delivered specifically to secondary tumours before they grow and symptoms are experienced. Dr. Max Crispin, the head researcher, has developed new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer based on refocusing of the immune system to destroy cancerous cells. As well as being potentially translatable to other cancers, this work may lead to the discovery of a breast cancer vaccine.
Metastatic (secondary) cancer cells are decorated with abnormal sugars which are implicated in their ability to move around the body and establish secondary tumours. These sugars are potential targets for the antibody component of the body’s immune system. People who develop secondary cancer may produce antibodies that stick to these targets on cancer cells which could be synthesized and used to direct drug treatments to otherwise undetectable secondary cancer cells, wherever they are in the body.
Dr. Crispin and his post-graduate student are also exploring innovative ways to link anti-cancer antibodies to cell-killing viruses that can infect and destroy breast cancer cells, including secondary breast cancer, without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.
Immune recruitment or suppression by glycan engineering of endogenous and therapeutic antibodies Le, N. P., T. A. Bowden, W. B. Struwe and M. Crispin (2016) Biochim Biophys Acta 1860 (8): 1655-1668
Optimal Synthetic Glycosylation of a Therapeutic Antibody Parsons, T. B., W. B. Struwe, J. Gault, K. Yamamoto, T. A. Taylor, R. Raj, K. Wals, S. Mohammed, C. V. Robinson, J. L. Benesch and B. G. Davis (2016) Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 55 (7): 2361-2367
Redirecting adenoviruses to tumour cells using therapeuticantibodies: Generation of a versatile human bispecific adaptor Snezana Vasiljevic, Emma V. Beale, Camille Bonomelli, Iona S. Easthope,Laura K. Pritchard, Gemma E. Seabright, Alessandro T. Caputo, Christopher N. Scanlan1,Martin Dalziel∗, Max Crispin, Mol Immunol (2015) 68 (2 Pt A): 234-243