Identification of Cancer Cells in the Human Body by Anti-Telomerase Peptide Antibody: Towards the Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells

Olga Karpov, Meir Lahav, Ofir Wolach, Pia Raanani, Dan Peer, Tal Kaplan, Orit Uziel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Early detection of tumor cells by identifying universal Tumor Associated Antigens (TAA) can drastically change our diagnostic, theranostic and therapeutic possibilities to cure cancer. Human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT), a hallmark of cancer, could act as an optimal TAA candidate. Here we report about the development of a monoclonal antibody against hTERT peptide (α-hTERT mAb) presented on the surface of cancer cells and its possible applications as a pan-cancer marker. Liquid biopsies, an innovative tool in precision oncology, comprising the noninvasive analysis of circulating tumor-derived material to counteract limitations associated with tissue biopsies. Within the tumor circulome, the US Food and Drug Administration already approved the use of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as valid liquid biopsies. However, currently CTCs are being trapped using antibodies against specific cancer types, with anti EpCAM as the most common antibody, directed mainly against solid tumors. Moreover, the precision medicine approach is based on specific cancer type directed antibodies. Our novel mAb against the hTERT 16-mer peptide, corresponding to amino acids 611–626, is capable of detecting various types of cancer cells both in vitro and ex vivo from tumors of patients with either hematological or solid tumors. This antibody does not bind to normal lymphocytes cells. Cleavage of our antibody to F(ab’)2 fragments increased its binding specificity to the tested cancer cells. Future studies may point to the use of this antibody in the procedure of capturing CTCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12872
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 25 2022


  • circulating tumor cells
  • pan cancer marker
  • telomerase
  • Peptides/metabolism
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Telomerase/metabolism
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating
  • Human Body
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Precision Medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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