Research into cancer prevention is one of the biggest fields in the world of medicine. And it is thanks to the tools that have been developed over the last few decades that more people are able to survive cancer today.
Now antibodies are proving to be even more effective than ever at preventing cancer. In particular, monoclonal antibodies, which are also referred to as Mabs, are showing promise in the fight against cancer cells. Continue reading to learn more.
What are Mabs?
Mabs were actually created in a lab. Mice with myeloma cancer cells were used, along with mice that were able to produce antibodies against those cancer cells. When researchers combined the two types of cells, this combination became known as a hybridoma cell. Basically, this cell becomes an antibody-producing factory in the body. And every antibody that is produced is identical to the original, so it is referred to as a monoclonal antibody.
Initial Problems with Mabs
The initial problem with monoclonal antibodies, or Mabs, was the fact that they were produced by mice. Therefore, when these antibodies were given to the patient, his or her body viewed them as a foreign invader that needed to be eliminated. The body would then launch an immune response and an attack to remove the antibodies from the body before they could do their job of helping in the prevention of cancer.
However, through a lot more research and hard work, scientists were able to create new methods that allowed for the use of human antibodies in place of the mouse antibodies. In this way, patients’ bodies would no longer reject the antibodies. Instead, the body would readily accept them and use them to conquer cancer cells before they grew out of control.
Two Types of Mabs
There are two main types of Mabs that are used today, and they are referred to as conjugated and naked. Conjugated means that the antibodies are connected to a toxin, such as chemotherapy, that can be used to fight cancer. Naked basically means that the antibodies are not attached to these types of materials when they are administered to patients.
Examples of Approved Mabs
There have been several Mabs that have already been approved for use throughout the years. For example, Alemuzumab was approved in 2001 for use against leukemia. And antibodies were also approved in 2004 and 2006 for use against breast cancers.
Also in the last few years, a new vaccine was approved for use in women in order to protect them from Human Papilloma Virus, also known as HPV. This virus is known to also cause cervical cancer, but with the vaccine, the body can produce antibodies that will protect it from the virus and from the cancer that could develop from it.
With the latest technology, including the use of Mabs, medical doctors all over the world now have yet another weapon that they can use to fight cancer. And because of discoveries like this one, patients around the globe can benefit.