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Monoclonal antibody therapy is the use of monoclonal antibodies (moAb or mAb) to specifically target cells. The main objective is stimulating the patient's immune system to attack the malignant tumor cells and the prevention of tumor growth by blocking specific cell receptors.

Variations exist within this treatment, for instance, radio immunotherapy, where a radioactive dose localizes on a target cell line, delivering lethal chemical doses to the target.

The clinical experiments made in Cuba, US and Germany with national monoclonal antibodies to treat high-malignant gliomas have been highly satisfactory, said a Cuban expert, Tania Crombet, here Tuesday.

A glioma is a type of cancer that starts in the brain or spine. Gliomas are classified by cell type, by grade, and by location. Gliomas are further categorized according to their grade, which is determined by pathologic evaluation of the tumor.

Low-grade gliomas are well-differentiated (not anaplastic), these are benign and portend a better prognosis for the patient. High-grade gliomas are undifferentiated or anaplastic, these are malignant and carry a worse prognosis.

Tania Crombet, who is the Director of Investigations in the Molecular Immunology Center in Havana, said that the product (moAb) developed in Cuba is used to treat central nervous system primary tumors, together with the conventional therapy.

"We have verified that the patients treated increased their life expectancy up to six months," said Dr. Crombet, also a participant at the International Neurology and Neuro Surgery Congress, called NEUROCUBA 2009, now in session at the Havana Convention Center.

She pointed out that gliomas are highly aggressive tumors, with a very reserved diagnosis and a survival possibility of quite less than a year.

Given its promising results, the product has been considered, up to now, an "orphan drug", that is to say, no other medication to treat a specific illness analyzed by renowned medical agencies EMEA (Europe) and FDA (US) like high malignant gliomas, right now exists.

The experiment has not finished yet. New investigations on its effectiveness and security are being done.

NEUROCUBA 2009 contains a wide scientific agenda, with 300 investigators from 12 countries of the world participating.


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