Iodine-131 Monoclonal Antibody 81C6 Targets Glioma Cells

Iodine-131 Monoclonal Antibody 81C6, also known as Neuradiab™, represents a significant advancement in the field of radioimmunotherapy, specifically targeting gliomas, a type of brain tumour. This radioimmunoconjugate combines 81C6, a murine IgG2 anti-tenascin monoclonal antibody, with the radioactive isotope Iodine-131. It exploits the overexpression of tenascin, an extracellular matrix protein, in gliomas and other cancers for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. While initial Phase II clinical trials showed promising outcomes, the Phase III trial was unfortunately terminated early due to logistical issues, leaving Neuradiab’s future uncertain.

Introduction to Iodine-131 Monoclonal Antibody 81C6 (Neuradiab™)

Iodine-131 Monoclonal Antibody 81C6, or Neuradiab™, is a pioneering approach in the treatment of gliomas, utilising the radioimmunoconjugate technology. This treatment involves the monoclonal antibody 81C6, targeting the tenascin protein, which is notably overexpressed in gliomas, among other cancers. By labelling this antibody with Iodine-131, a radioactive isotope, Neuradiab™ offers a method to directly target tumour cells while sparing healthy tissues, a significant advantage over traditional treatments.

Clinical Development and Trials

Early Phase Trials

The initial clinical trials, particularly Phase II, offered encouraging data. In a study involving 19 patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the mean overall progression-free survival (PFS) reached an impressive 17.2 months. This outcome was considerably promising, given the aggressive nature of GBM and the limited effectiveness of existing treatments.

Phase III Trial and Termination

Based on the positive results from Phase II, a Phase III clinical trial was launched in June 2008, with an ambitious plan to enrol up to 760 patients across the United States. The study aimed to comprehensively evaluate Neuradiab’s efficacy and safety on a larger scale. However, the trial faced significant hurdles, including delays in site initiation and funding considerations, leading to its termination in February 2011. This premature end has put Neuradiab’s development on hold, with its future application in clinical practice remaining uncertain.

Mechanism of Action of Iodine-131 Monoclonal Antibody 81C6

Neuradiab™ operates through a targeted mechanism, where the 81C6 monoclonal antibody binds to the tenascin protein. Tenascin is an extracellular matrix protein that plays a critical role in cell adhesion and migration, and its overexpression is a hallmark of gliomas and some other cancers. By attaching the radioactive Iodine-131 to the antibody, Neuradiab™ delivers beta electrons (β–) directly to the tumour cells, leading to their destruction. This targeted approach minimises damage to surrounding healthy tissues, a common issue with conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.

The Role of Tenascin in Cancer

Tenascin serves as a critical target for Neuradiab™ due to its selective overexpression in tumour tissues, especially gliomas. This overexpression facilitates tumour growth and invasion, making tenascin a suitable marker and target for therapeutic intervention. The selective targeting of tenascin by 81C6 enables the precise delivery of radioactive therapy and underscores the potential for other targeted treatments against proteins overexpressed in cancers.

Current Status and Future Prospects

The early termination of the Phase III clinical trial for Neuradiab™ has undoubtedly been a setback for this innovative treatment. Despite this, the promising results from the Phase II trials indicate a potential for further research and development. Future efforts could focus on overcoming the logistical and funding challenges that hindered the Phase III trial, possibly through partnerships with larger pharmaceutical companies or research institutions. Additionally, the mechanism of action of Neuradiab™ provides a valuable template for the development of other radioimmunoconjugates targeting different proteins overexpressed in various types of cancer.


Iodine-131 Monoclonal Antibody 81C6 (Neuradiab™) stands out as a promising approach in the treatment of gliomas. It offers a novel method to target tumour cells while sparing healthy tissues. Despite the challenges and uncertainties surrounding its clinical development, the initial trial results highlight the potential benefits of targeted radioimmunotherapy. Moving forward, further research and investment are essential to fully realise the therapeutic potential of Neuradiab™ and similar treatments in oncology.

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