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Bispecific Antibodies Enable Targeted Treatment for Leukemias

A new treatment approach for leukemia that uses antibodies to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs specifically to cancer cells while sparing normal tissues is reported in Science Translational Medicine this week. For many aggressive cancers, intense chemotherapy regimens are the only treatment options, but these carry risks of neurotoxicity, organ dysfunction, and deadly cytokine release syndrome. Aiming to address these issues, a team led by scientists from the Lowy Cancer Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia combined liposomal nanocarriers, which can be used to encapsulate chemotherapeutics to improve biodistribution and drug tolerability, with interchangeable bispecific antibodies that bind to both the nanoparticle surface and different receptors on cancer cells. Focusing on high-risk childhood leukemias, they show that the approach can improve the targeting and cytotoxic activity of a clinically approved liposomal formulation of the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin both in leukemia cell lines and patient samples while reducing toxicity. Complexing the doxorubicin formulation to bispecific antibodies also enhanced the drug's in vivo therapeutic activity in patient-derived xenograft models. "This treatment approach represents an alternative therapeutic option for children with high-risk leukemia that is applicable to diverse forms of the disease, exhibits low toxicity, and does not rely on complex methodologies to succeed," the researchers write. It also holds potential for other blood cancers, they note.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.