IMMU-114 is a novel humanized antibody directed against an immune response target, HLA-DR, for the treatment of patients with B-cell cancers. HLA-DR is a receptor located on the cell surface whose role is to present foreign objects to the immune system for the purpose of eliciting an immune response. Increased presence of HLA-DR in hematologic cancers has made it a prime target for antibody therapy.
Although other anti-HLA-DR antibodies have been developed, IMMU-114 is distinguished by having a different immunoglobulin class, IgG4, which does not function by the usual effector-cell activities of antibodies, such as complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). As a result, IMMU-114 does not rely on an intact immune system in the patient to kill tumor cells. Furthermore, because ADCC and CDC are believed to play a major role in causing the side effects of antibody therapy, we expect IMMU-114 to be less toxic to patients.
By targeting HLA-DR, a receptor that is different from the antigen targeted by rituximab or other antibodies in development for NHL and other B-cell malignancies, IMMU-114 may represent a new tool in the arsenal to combat these cancers.
The anti-HLA-DR antibody is being investigated in a Phase I dose-escalation study as a monotherapy for patients with NHL or CLL.
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