I've been following, like everyone else in the UK, the story of the lab rats who took the drug of doom.
It was the comment of the girlfriend whose panicked face screams progress gone wrong! that "this is something new" that got me wondering. What had they given them? The BBC call it an anti-inflammatory drug, which sounds kind of nice, doesn't it? Fluffy. I've been on them. But how could an anti-inflammatory treat anything except for the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and leukaemia?
Off to Parexel, who organised the trial. They explain that "TGN 1412 is an immunomodulatory humanized agonistic anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody". I needed a translation on pretty much every word in that sentence, but probably some of you do not. Agonistic, particularly, had me wondering.
After a few blind alleys, though, I found that the European Medicines Agency Pre-authorisation Evaluation of Medicines for Human Use publish their hearings on the web. Here's the relevant:
Humanised agonistic anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody could be of potential significant benefit for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia because it may offer a new way of killing cancer cells.
Antibodies are proteins in the body that target and link specific shapes (the so-called antigens) on the surface of, various cells. Humanised agonistic anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody is an antibody that is thought to bind a specific type of cells of the immune system called T lymphocytes. By binding these cells, it is thought that the antibody can stimulate them to attack and kill the cancer cells.
Which isn't anti-inflammatories (although that might be an effect) but immunotherapy. Parexel describe it as "being developed by sponsor TeGenero AG for the treatment of autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and hemato-oncological malignancies". TeGenero (an immunotherapeutics specialist) describes the drug as being developed for the treatment of immunological diseases with a high unmet medical need, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers.
Well. I routinely get excited about news stories about this sort of stuff, and here it is, gone horribly wrong.
Still, in my usual "speak, then act" way, I've just put my name down for some TB research. Money's rubbish, though.
Sorry, that was all a bit grim, wasn't it? Have a stupid webshop: Customers who bought this also bought: moldy bread.