Antibody solution may prevent adhesions after surgery

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- New research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that adhesions following gynecologic and abdominal surgery can be prevented by applying a special antibody solution at the end of the operation.

The solution is aimed at neutralizing "sticky" molecules called alpha-v/beta-3 integrins, one member of a ubiquitous family of membrane glycoproteins involved in embryonic development, blood vessel formation, the immune system, and wound healing.

"As gynecologists, we're always concerned about post-surgical adhesions," says Dr. Bruce Lessey, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UNC-CH School of Medicine and a specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. "Adhesion formation is a frequent complication of gynecologic and abdominal surgery and may result in infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pain, prolonged recovery, and intestinal obstruction."

According to Lessey, various methods have been tried to reduce post-operative adhesions. "These include barriers, surgical technique, anti-inflammatory drugs, solutions, and gels. This is currently a billion dollar a year industry and to date none of the proposed methods have been found sufficiently clinically effective for routine use during surgery as a way to reduce adhesions."

The researcher presents his findings Monday, September 27, in a presentation to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Toronto, Canada.

"Few if any of the approaches to reduce post-operative adhesions has targeted cellular biochemistry to block the adhesion process," Lessey says. On a rabbit experimental model, he and his colleagues tested a solution containing the antibody LM609, developed by Dr. David Cheresh, professor at The Scripps Institute, La Jolla, California. This antibody targets the alpha-v/beta-3 integrin, which has been shown to be important in new blood vessel formation and tumor cell invasion. Cher

Contact: Lynn Wooten
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

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