Blowing away lymphoma with 'guided missile'

In drug delivery, the metaphors you choose can have a large impact on the public's perception of your technology. So, you have the "Trojan Horse," or the "Fantastic Voyage Submarine" or drug riding "piggyback." Andrei Shustov, however, is having none of these wimpy metaphors for a cancer killer. He describes SGN-35, which combines a cancer-seeking antibody with a tumor-killing chemical, as "guided missiles." Shustov, a blood cancer specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Bloomberg, "You have the warhead that is delivered by a smart carrier which is the antibody. It gets the drug to the target at very high concentrations."

Shustov led a study that looked at a drug from Seattle Genetics and Takeda Pharmaceutical that used what Bloomberg calls a "double-barreled approach to wipe out malignancy in patients with a deadly form of lymphoma." The guided missile apparently obliterated cancer to undetectable levels in 53 percent of those with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and sliced tumor size by at least half in an additional 33 percent.

Shustov said that SGN-35's antibody and drug are held together by a linker that releases the chemical only when it docks with the cancer cells. So, he said, it should not enter the bloodstream or reach healthy tissues, avoid the side effects of standard chemotherapy. No matter how it's worded, that does sound promising.

- read the Bloomberg article