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Cancer Immun. 2007 Dec 19;7:20.

Preclinical evaluation of MORAb-009, a chimeric antibody targeting tumor-associated mesothelin.

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  • 1Morphotek Inc., 210 Welsh Pool Road, Exton, PA, USA.


Novel therapeutic agents that are safe and effective are needed for the treatment of pancreatic, ovarian, lung adenocarcinomas and mesotheliomas. Mesothelin is a glycosyl-phosphatidyl inositol (GPI)-linked membrane protein of 40 kDa over-expressed in all pancreatic adenocarcinoma and mesothelioma, in >70% of ovarian adenocarcinoma, and in non-small cell lung and colorectal cancers. The biological functions of mesothelin are not known, although it appears to be involved in cell adhesion via its interaction with MUC16. We have recently developed MORAb-009, a mouse-human chimeric IgG1kappa monoclonal antibody with an affinity of 1.5 nM for human mesothelin. Here we provide evidence that MORAb-009 prevents adhesion of mesothelin-bearing tumor cells to MUC16 positive cells and can elicit cell-mediated cytotoxicity on mesothelin-bearing tumor cells. Treatment that included MORAb-009 in combination with chemotherapy led to a marked reduction in tumor growth of mesothelin-expressing tumors in nude mice compared to chemotherapy or MORAb-009 treatment alone. No adverse effects of MORAb-009 were noted during toxicology studies conducted in non-human primates. The preclinical data obtained from our studies warrants pursuing clinical testing of MORAb-009. We have in fact initiated a Phase I clinical study enrolling patients with mesothelin-positive pancreatic, mesothelioma, non-small cell lung and ovarian cancers.

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