Biting back: BiTE antibodies as a promising therapy for acute myeloid leukemia

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The experience with gemtuzumab ozogamicin has highlighted both the potential value and limitations of antibodies in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Recently, bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibodies have emerged as a means to harness polyclonal cytotoxic T-cells and cause highly efficient lysis of targeted tumor cells. Promising early results have been obtained with the CD19-directed BiTE antibody, blinatumomab, in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A first candidate for AML is the CD33/CD3 molecule, AMG 330, for which several recent preclinical studies demonstrated high potency and efficacy in destroying CD33+ human AML cells. Many questions remain to be addressed, but BiTE antibodies may offer an exciting new tool in a disease for which the outcomes in many patients remain unsatisfactory.

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