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Cancer Res. 2009 Jun 15;69(12):4941-4. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-0547. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

Bispecific T-cell engaging antibodies for cancer therapy.

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Micromet Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


There is increasing evidence that T cells are able to control tumor growth and survival in cancer patients, both in early and late stages of the disease. However, tumor-specific T-cell responses are difficult to mount and sustain in cancer patients, and are limited by numerous immune escape mechanisms of tumor cells selected during immunoediting. An alternative approach to engage T cells for cancer therapy are antibodies, which are bispecific for a surface target antigen on cancer cells, and for CD3 on T cells. These are capable of connecting any kind of cytotoxic T cell to a cancer cell, independently of T-cell receptor specificity, costimulation, or peptide antigen presentation. Here, we review the principle of a new class of bispecific antibodies called BiTE (for "bispecific T-cell engager") antibodies. Recent results from clinical studies with a CD19/CD3-bispecific BiTE antibody suggest that this therapeutic paradigm is finally showing promise for treatment of both bulky and minimal residual disease.

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