Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rethinking Usage of Antibodies Against Cancer

After years of trying to use antibodies as the next big thing in cancer research, a new generation is going through drug trials. These new antibodies are called antibody-drug conjugates. These ADCs are different than past antibodies in that once they dock onto the cell, the cell cleaves the molecular links that bind the drug to the antibody, this frees the drug to kill the cell from within. Problems with these ADCs include not being able to penetrate deeply enough into the cell and being too unstable to release drugs into the cells and releasing them near healthy cells. Two drugs using ABCs have been approved to treat breast cancer and more than 40 others are now in clinical testing.

Other companies like Tarveda Therapeautics, a biotechnology company in Massachusetts, have bypassed the idea of antibodies and are now using short strands of amino acids to target cancer cells. This drug is much smaller than those using antibodies and likely to penetrate much deeper than antibody using drugs, solving one issue of ADCs.


  1. I have always been skeptical of the use of antibiotics on cancer cause like, don't those drugs fight against bacteria, and I'm pretty sure cancer is far more complex. It is refreshing knowing that there are people thinking outside the box and trying to ensure that all options are exhausted when it comes to the first against cancer. The ADCs are a step in the right direction and although they have flaws right now, they are a new technique and there is plenty for improvement. I look forward to reading about the advances of these new drugs

  2. Im glad the issue of using antibiotics in cancer treatment is being resolved. I'm surprised antibiotics were being used in cancer treatment in the first place since cancer isn't a bacterial disease. Using short strands of amino acids makes more sense when trying to infiltrate a cancer cell.

  3. While antibiotics are quite useful in combating infections that typically result from bacterial diseases, I find it quite unusual that the same concept was even considered to be used on cancer. As Wilhemina suggests, cancer cells are much more complex than your average bacteria. That's before even considering the disadvantages of antibiotics in that they can cause side effects and can also be rendered ineffective due to antibiotic resistance development. If cancer were to develop the ability to render antibiotic useless, it would be more problematic for treating the cancer to begin with.