Click HERE To register for a LIVE presentation from industry expert Ali Salanti (PhD) on Diagnosing, targeting and treating cancer using a recombinant cancer binding malaria protein.
Rapid growth and tissue invasion are features shared by cancer and the placenta. For the placenta this is essential to support fetal growth but in cancer it is detrimental. Malaria parasites have evolved a protein called VAR2CSA that binds a distinct carbohydrate modification present on placental cells. This placental CSA is not found on normal somatic cells, and VAR2CSA is the only reagent that can distinguish normal CSA from placental CSA. We have shown that placental CSA is present on the large majority of cancer cells, and that these cells effectively binds and internalizes VAR2CSA upon contact. Normal cells and non-malignant tissue does not bind VAR2CSA. This potentially makes VAR2CSA ideal as a broadly effective cancer drug. VAR2 Pharmaceuticals has developed a VAR2CSA Drug Conjugate (VDC) that effectively kills cancer cells in vitro and in vivo with no acute adverse effects. Our focus is to transition this as well as a VAR2CSA protein fused to anti-CD3 to clinical phase I trials. Such novel therapies holds the promise to provide an effective and safe therapeutic options for the many types of cancers with no current targeted therapies available.