ABSTRACT: Hemocyanins, the giant oxygen transporter glycoproteins of diverse mollusks, are xenogenic to the mammalian immune system and they display a remarkable immuno-genicity. Therefore they are ideal non-specific immunostimulants to treat some types of cancer. They are used as an alternative therapy for superficial urinary bladder cancer (SBC), that has been traditionally treated with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). In contrast to BCG, hemocyanins do not cause side-effects, making them ideal for long-term repetitive treatments. Hemocyanins have also been exploited as carriers to develop antibodies against hapten molecules and peptides, as carrier-adjuvants for cutting-edge vaccines against cancer, drug addiction, and infectious diseases and in the diagnosis of parasitic diseases, such as Schistosomiasis. The hemocyanin from Megathura crenulata, also known as keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), has been used for over thirty years for the purposes described above. More recently, hemoc yanin from the Chilean mollusk Concholepas concholepas (CCH) has proved to be a reliable alternative to KLH, either as carrier protein, and as a likely alternative for the immunotherapy of SBC. Despite KLH and CCH differ significantly in their origin and structure, we have demonstrated that both hemocyanins stimulate the immune system of mammals in a similar way by inducing a potent Thl-polarized cellular and humoral response.
Revista medica de Chile 02/2011; 139(2):236-46. · 0.33 Impact Factor