Currently, the standards-of-care for treating medulloblastoma include surgical interventions, chemotherapy, and radiation. Finding new and effective treatment options would help to improve patient outcomes. According to an article in The ASCO Post, researchers and scientists are beginning to work towards that goal through the development and testing of TB-403.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) explains that TB-403 is:
a humanized immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody directed against the placenta growth factor (PGF), with potential anti-angiogenic and antineoplastic activities.
Anti-angiogenic means that it stops new blood vessels from forming (such as those which might help the cancer grow and spread). Antineoplastic means blocking the formation of neoplasms, or growths which may eventually become cancer. Medulloblastoma tumors often highly express PGF and its receptor NRP1; these also assist in tumor growth. By blocking PGF, TB-403 is designed to shrink or destroy tumors, reduce cancer spread, and increase survival rates.
A Phase 1 study, in which 15 patients enrolled, evaluated TB-403 for treatment-averse medulloblastoma. During the trial, the patients received 20-175mg/kg TB-403. 63% of patients saw disease stabilization. TB-403 was also found to be safe and well-tolerated. While these results, published in Clinical Cancer Research, are promising, more research – in a larger study – is needed.
What is Medulloblastoma?
Also known as a cerebellar primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET), medulloblastoma is a cancerous tumor which forms in the brain’s posterior fossa region. This cancer may spread through the brain and spinal cord. It is considered to be one of the most common brain tumors in children, accounting for up to 20% of childhood brain tumors. This cancer is more common in males than females, and typically appears between ages 5-9 (though it can occur beyond this range). Symptoms can (but do not always) include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Back pain
- Difficulty walking
- Lethargy or confusion
- Problems with bladder and bowel control