Structural Biochemistry/Antibodies that target tumor cells
By understanding how antibodies work scientists have developed ways to prevent the spread of cancer cells. Two therapeutic monoclonal antibody have been developed that has aided in the fight against cancer.
Rituxan was the first therapeutic monoclonal antibody that targets tumor cells passed by the FDA. It targets the tumor fingerprint on the surface of immune cells known as B cells in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Heceptin is the other therapeutic monoclonal antibody that targets breast cancer cells. How it works is that it binds to the cell receptors of the breast cancer and acts as a signal to lure immune cells to kill the cancer cell. This function helps prevent breast cancer from spreading to other organs.
1. Medicine by Designs NIH Publication No. 06-474 Reprinted July 2006 http://www.nigms.nih.gov