Monoclonal antibodies are a type of laboratory-made protein that can bind body tissues including cancer cells. Different types of monoclonal antibodies are made in a laboratory. But each type of monoclonal antibody specifically binds with a particular cell. Monoclonal antibodies are used in a certain type of cancer therapy. Monoclonal antibody therapy use as a single therapy or use as a carrier for radioactive substances, drugs, or toxins directly to the cancer cells.
How monoclonal antibodies act against cancer cells?
In general, antibodies are produced in our immune system to fight against germs, and other invading foreign substances. Monoclonal antibodies are similar types of antibodies but made in a laboratory. Medical researchers and clinicians are used synthetic monoclonal antibodies to identify and treat cancer and some other diseases.
The Y-shaped antibodies tightly bind with a specific target, which means each monoclonal antibody target only one specific cell. Monoclonal antibodies are targeted cell surfaces and attached like puzzle pieces.
In the laboratory, the research and development team prepare many identical monoclonal antibodies. They can attach to the specific cancer cell surface. These monoclonal antibodies block the supply of essential substances requires for cancer growth. Flag cancer cells to destroy by the immune system and deliver toxin substances to the cancer cells. Thus, monoclonal antibodies are specifically used as a targeted therapy in cancer treatment. This can be easy to
understand by explaining the following examples:
- Trastuzumab is an example of a monoclonal antibody that is attached with HER2 present in some cancer cell surfaces. The consequence of the HER2 blockage leads to the restriction of essential signals necessary to grow cancer cells.
- Another monoclonal antibody named bevacizumab targets VEGF which helps to grow new blood vessels for cancer cell survivals. VEGF blockage through bevacizumab causes cancer cell death.
- Another example of a monoclonal antibody is pembrolizumab. This monoclonal antibody attaches to the immune checkpoints present in our immune system. Blockage of immune checkpoints prevents cancer cell damage.
- Monoclonal antibodies like rituximab flag cancer cells so that our natural immune functioning destroys them.
- Brentuximab vedotin is a monoclonal antibody that is administered with a chemotherapy drug. When this antibody targets the specific cancer cell, then it helps to deliver the chemotherapy drug to cancer cells for killing them.
Clinical researchers are work hard to develop more monoclonal antibodies in the laboratory to improve cancer treatment by targeting cancer cells.
Side effects of Monoclonal antibodies
The route of administration of monoclonal antibodies is parenteral. Monoclonal antibodies injected into the vein (intravenous route). Allergic reaction is a common side effect of this therapy and occurs mostly after administering the first dose. Following are some possible side effects associated with the administration of monoclonal antibodies:
- Low blood pressure
Monotherapy of monoclonal antibodies usually has fewer serious side effects compared with chemotherapy drugs. But some individuals may experience some significant side effects. Experts reported that monoclonal antibodies can cause similar side effects to the antigens they target. For example:
Bevacizumab-associated side effects are high blood pressure, delay wound healing, prolong bleeding, low rate of blood clotting, and kidney damage.
Another monoclonal antibody, Cetuximab that targets EGFR protein present in normal skin cells as well as certain types of cancer cells causes serious skin rash in some individuals.