Protein-Protein Interaction Activates and Fuels Leukemia Cell Growth

December 21, 2015

Findings also show how an experimental monoclonal antibody treatment inhibits growth and spread of cancer —

Building upon previous research, scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer report that a protein called Wnt5a acts on a pair of tumor-surface proteins, called ROR1 and ROR2, to accelerate the proliferation and spread of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, the most common form of blood cancer in adults.

They note, however, that these effects of Wnt5a were blocked by a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for ROR1, called cirmtuzumab (or UC-961), which inhibited the growth and spread of CLL cells in both cell lines and mouse models of leukemia. The findings are published in the December 21, 2015 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Thomas Kipps

Dr. Thomas Kipps

Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD, senior author of the study report, is Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research and deputy director for research at Moores Cancer Center. He is Professor of Medicine in the Divisions of Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Read the study report in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (full text, UC San Diego only). J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI83535.

Novel Drug Targeting Leukemia Cells Enters Clinical Trial

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a phase 1 human clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a new monoclonal antibody for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of blood cancer in adults. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


A team led by Dr. Thomas Kipps developed the new antibody, known as cirmtuzumab or UC-961. The work was conducted and supported by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine HALT grant to co-principal investigators Dennis Carson, MD, and Catriona Jamieson, PhD, MD.

Dr. Thomas Kipps

Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhDDennis Carson, MD

L to R: Drs. Kipps, Jamieson and Carson.

Monoclonal Antibody Targets, Kills Leukemia Cells

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center have identified a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets and directly kills chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Thomas KippsThomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research, is principal investigator of the study, which was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kipps is professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and deputy director of research at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center.

Citation for the published study: Zhang S, Wu CCN, Fecteau J-F, Cui B, Chen L, Zhang L, Wu R, Rassenti L, Lao F, Weigand S, Kipps TJ. Targeting chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells with a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for CD44  PNAS 2013; published ahead of print March 25, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1221841110  |  Read the abstract