NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more


What are you looking for?

Barcelona research institute discovers antibody that prevents metastasis and slows cancer growth

International consortium led by IRB publishes findings in Nature Cancer on petosemtamab antibody that doesn't harm healthy cells


25 April 2022 05:45 PM


ACN | Barcelona

A team led by Barcelona’s Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) has discovered an antibody that attacks cancer stem cells that cause metastasis but does not damage healthy ones.

The full report on the discovery of the antibody MCLA-158, also known as petosemtamab, can be read on the IRB website here.

The preclinical data published in the science journal Nature Cancer reveal the discovery of the antibody MCLA-158, which prevents the onset of metastasis – the spreading of cancer to other vital organs – and slows the growth of primary tumours in experimental models of cancer.

The findings come from the work of an international consortium led by Dr Eduard Batlle, head of the Colorectal Cancer laboratory at IRB Barcelona, as well as Dutch company Merus NV.

The study was performed on organoids, biological samples from real cancer patients, and opens the door to potential new drug treatments using the antibody. 

In the clinical trial with which the study was performed, three of the seven patients saw partial remission, and one of them achieved complete remission, while a reduction in tumor size was observed in all seven patients. IRB scientists invented a therapy based on the administration of Petosentamab and tested it on patients with skin cancer.

The methods of IRB and Merus were to apply different antibodies to these samples of organoids to see what their reactions were. This is how the researchers found MCLA-158, which has been shown to block the onset of metastasis and slow the growth of tumors while not damaging healthy cells. The antibody, which goes by the trade name Petosentamab, attacks cancer stem cells, an innovative method of fighting cancer.

The director of the project, Dr Eduard Batlle, commented on the value of this discovery on the IRB website: “It is highly satisfying to see that our discoveries are helping patients. We started studying cancer stem cells 15 years ago. The journey to this point has been exciting but also very complex, and it has required a large investment of resources, as well as a great deal of work by many researchers.” 


  • Dr Eduard Batlle, leader of the IRB research team that discovered an antibody that prevents metastasis (image from IRB research institute)

  • Dr Eduard Batlle, leader of the IRB research team that discovered an antibody that prevents metastasis (image from IRB research institute)