Findings from the Phase I study on monoclonal antibody hu14.18K322A were published recently online and will appear in theĀ Journal of Clinical Oncology. The experimental antibody is produced at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Phase 1 studies focus on questions related to the safety and best dose of experimental therapies. The research involves patient volunteers whose cancer has returned or did not respond to standard treatment, which for neuroblastoma includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants.In this study 38 patients received one of nine different doses of hu14.18K322A.The immunotherapy is designed to activate the disease-fighting immune system to attack and kill tumor cells. Every 28 days, patients received an infusion of hu14.18K322A once daily for four days. Of the 31 patients evaluated after two or more rounds of treatment, the disease stabilized in nine patients, tumors shrank in two patients and were undetectable in four more, researchers reported. Four patients are alive after more than two-and-a-half years without additional therapy. Pain is the most common side effect recorded. Hu14.18K322A is an antibody engineered to recognize and attach to a molecule called the GD2 antigen. GD2 is found on the surface of almost all neuroblastoma cells as well as other tumors, including the skin cancer melanoma, the bone cancer osteosarcoma and soft-tissue sarcomas. The antigen is found on the normal cells of just a few tissues.