The latest discoveries in medical technology are using certain antibodies for cancer prevention. These medical miracles are called monoclonal antibodies, or “Mabs”, and can be used to help ward off all kinds of cancers. The technology to aid doctors and nurses fight cancer has only come about within the last several decades. Further research continually turns up more and more Mabs, providing hope for those who have already developed cancer and for those who are trying to protect themselves from it.
The American Cancer Society’s (AMC) web site explains that monoclonal antibodies were first developed in laboratories using mice with myeloma cells, which is a kind of bone marrow cancer, and mice that produced specific antibodies for those cells. The combination of these two cells, called a hybridoma cell, forces a perpetual factory making antibodies. The antibodies end up being identical clones of the original hybridoma cell, which is why they are called monoclonal antibodies. The problem scientists faced with this phenomenal finding was that human antibodies recognized the mouse-produced antibodies as foreign invaders and attacked them. With hard work and dedication, scientists are continuing to develop ways to integrate human antibodies in lieu of mouse antibodies so cancer patients will be able to use the immunotherapy as a form of treatment.
Today there are two types of Mabs, naked and conjugated. The difference between these two lies in the fact that naked antibodies lack radioactive materials attached to them. Conjugated antibodies, on the other hand, are fused with a chemotherapy drug or other toxin used to fight off cancer cells. In recent years the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several Mabs, both naked and conjugated, for cancer treatments. A list of approved Mabs is available through the ACA’s web site. In 2004 and in 2006, Bevacizumab, a naked antibody, was approved for treating certain types of breast cancers. In 2001 the FDA approved the use of Alemuzumab, a naked antibody, which acts as a form of leukemia prevention by attaching itself to both B and T cancer cells, causing the body’s immune system to attack and kill them. In 2000, the FDA approved the use of a conjugated antibody, Gemtuzumab ozogamicin, which is used in the treatment of chronic leukemia.
If you have lost someone to cancer or know someone suffering from cancer, it is not hard to understand how crucial medical research is when it comes to finding antibodies for cancer prevention. The number of cancer victims continues to rise each year, hitting people of all ages. With the prolonged use and approval of Mabs, these numbers may begin to decline, alleviating the fear everyone has about developing some form of the deadly disease. Diet and exercise will only help an individual a certain amount, leaving genetics and medical breakthroughs to do the rest. By continuing to fine tune more variations of antibodies for cancer prevention, medicine as we know it today could be changed for the better in years to come.
Medicine has come a long way in the last fifty years thanks to the help of scientists and research laboratories. Their combined efforts have aided individuals all over the world prevent and treat life-threatening forms of cancer. Advancements in immunotherapy treatments that use antibodies for cancer prevention, combined with other cancer-deterring methods, are just a step on the threshold for greater triumphs to help everyone live long and healthy lives.