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Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

A monoclonal antibody is a laboratory-produced molecule that is engineered to attach to specific defects in cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies mimic the antibodies the body naturally produces as part of our immune system’s response to germs, vaccines etc.

The most commonly used monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of haematological malignancy is Rituximab (Mabthera) an antiCD20 antibody which binds to a specific protein CD20 only found on the surface of B lymphocytes. Certain types of lymphoma arise from these B cells. When Rituximab attached to the CD20 on the B lymphocytes it makes the cells more visible to the immune system, which can then attack. Rituximab lowers the number of B cells including healthy B cells, but the body produces new healthy B cells to replace these. The cancerous B cells are less likely to recur.

Deliver radiation to cancer cells

By combining a radioactive particle to a monoclonal antibody, radiation can be delivered directly to the cancer cells. This way, most of the surrounding healthy cells will not be damaged. Radiation-linked monoclonal antibodies deliver a lower level of radiation over a longer period of time.

Ibritumomab (Zevalin) is a monoclonal antibody combined with radioactive particles, and is a treatment option for some patients with B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

For more information on monoclonal antibodies please do not hesitate to get in touch with Dr Shafeek through our appointments page.