An antibody provides great protection against radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis, researchers report in Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study is a collaboration of the German Cancer Research Center, University Hospital Center, and FibroGen, Inc.. (Cusabio provides various proteins and antibodies. http://www.cusabio.com/)
Radiotherapy is an important treatment option for patients with cancer. In fact, nearly two thirds of cancer patients will receive radiotherapy. For this, radiotherapy often claimed to be orthodox medicine’s number 1 weapon against cancer. In most cases, radiotherapy is effective and well tolerated. However, it has potential side-effects. For example, prolonged exposure to radiation causes the healthy tissue to inflame and eventually scar, a process called fibrosis.
Fibrosis is the development of fibrous connective tissue in response to injury or damage. Many growth factors and inflammation-promoting chemical messengers have been implicated in this process but there is still a lack of effective drugs that target these molecules to prevent or control pulmonary fibrosis. Once developed, fibrosis can be difficult to reverse.
The aim of this study is to find new targets for pulmonary fibrosis. The tested an antibody against the connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). Mice received the antibody before and after radiation therapy. The majority of the mice were protected from fibrosis, and the antibody treatment even reversed the fibrotic transformation in some mice. In comparison to control mice, mice receiving the antibody had reduced fibrosis symptoms, better health, and prolonged survival. When antibody treatment started 20 days after radiotherapy, 75% of the treated mice were able to survive a extremely high, potentially lethal dose of radiation. These data suggest that antibody to CTGF might have significant therapeutic effect against radiotherapy-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Now, the team is investigating whether the antibody could be effective against other forms of fibrotic disease.