How Is Cancer Treated by Monoclonal Antibody Drugs?

19th December 2017
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How Is Cancer Treated by Monoclonal Antibody Drugs?

Monoclonal antibody drugs are perhaps the biggest breakthrough in the treatment of various cancers. These technologically-advanced medicines work in many ways to harness the body’s own autoimmune system to effectively fight cancer. If your cancer treatment envisages monoclonal antibody therapy, then it is best to learn more about it so that you are able to weigh the pros and cons of undergoing the treatment.

How Is Cancer Fought by The Immune System?

The body’s immune system has the task of detecting and destroying agents that cause disease. Antibodies produced by the immune system bind the antigen present on the problem cell’s surface to serve as a flag for the autoimmune system to destroy it. However, cancer cells damage the efficacy of the autoimmune system.

How Does a Monoclonal Antibody Function?

Monoclonal antibodies are engineered in the laboratory to substitute the antibodies produced by the immune system to fight the cancer cells better. Monoclonal antibodies function in a number of different ways.

Marking cancerous cells: When the antibodies produced by the autoimmune system have been rendered ineffective by the cancer cells, monoclonal antibodies are able to target the cancer cells better to facilitate easier detection and destruction.

Activating destruction of cell-membrane: Certain monoclonal antibodies can set off a response by the autoimmune system that leads to the destruction of the cancer cell’s membrane.

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Blocking growth of cancer cells: Some monoclonal antibodies are engineered to stop the connection between protein promoting cell growth and cancer cells so that the tumor can be controlled. Get more information on tissue culture methods at https://www.mybiosource.com/learn/testing-procedures/chromatin-immunoprecipitation.

Preventing the growth of blood vessels: Cancer cells are able to multiply very fast when they receive a very good supply of blood. The task of some antibodies is to block the interaction between the protein and the cells that are required for new blood vessel development.

Obstructing inhibitors of the immune system: Monoclonal antibodies are able to bind to some of the immune system protein cells that regulate the activity of the system. This enables the cancer-fighting cells more opportunities to do their work of destroying the cancer cells.

Directly destroying cancer cells: Even though certain monoclonal antibodies were designed to do something else, they are effective in attacking the cancer cells directly in a way that they cause the cancer cells to self-destruct.

Delivering radiation and chemotherapy: As monoclonal antibodies are specifically engineered to target cancer cells, they can also be used to act as a transport system for radioactive particles to enable them to act directly on the cancer cells while minimizing their effect on the surrounding healthy cells. Similarly, chemotherapeutic drugs can use the monoclonal antibodies as an effective delivery system.

Conclusion

Monoclonal antibodies have been established to be very effective in treating cancers of the brain, breast, head and neck, lung, prostate, stomach, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Colorectal cancer, Melanoma, etc. Research is continuing on find effective treatments to other types of cancer. If you are planning to use monoclonal antibodies for your treatment, you should discuss with your physician all the aspects, including possible side effects.

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