The anti-cancer potential in antibodies was first realized in the 90’s. They have since become part of our arsenal of targeted therapies that take out cancer cells without harming healthy cells. How do these mighty little bullets do it?
Antibodies bind to specific molecules on immune cells. They focus a patient’s immune system to:
1. Wipe out the bad guys directly
2. Bring toxic substances to cancer cells, effectively crashing the cancer party
3. Act as a roadblock and cut cancer cells off from molecules or signals they need to survive
Rituxan was the first targeted cancer drug on the market (1997) and your support of LLS helped fund its discovery and development. What’s truly incredible is the fact that the Rituxan success story has extended far beyond its original use for treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL):
- The FDA has approved it for Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
- It is being used to treat patients with myeloma, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after stem cell transplantation.
- It is being used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and tested in other autoimmune diseases.
- The biology behind Rituxan has been used to create antibody therapies for breast, colon and lung cancer.
All that from one little synthesized antibody. It’s just amazing!