The recent developments in the field of recombinant DNA, protein engineering and cancer biology, have let us gain insight into many cancer-related mechanisms. Moreover, novel techniques have facilitated tools allowing unique distinction between malignantly transformed cells, to regular ones. This understanding has paved the way for the rational design of a new age of pharmaceuticals; monoclonal antibodies and their fragments. Antibodies can select antigens on both a specific and high affinity account, and further implementation of these qualities is used to target cancer cells by specifically identifying exogenous antigens of cancer cell populations. The structure of the antibody provides plasticity resonating from its functional sites. Upon binding to the Fc Receptor on effector cells, the crystallisable fragment (Fc) region elicits the onslaught of Antigen Dependant Cell-mediated Cytotoxicity (ADCC) and the plasma-native Complement Dependant Cytotoxicity (CDC) response and apoptosis. The progenitor form of the antibody can evolve in to a tailored therapeutic molecule with the help of recombinant DNA technology. Recombinant antibodies may be linked to potent toxins or radio-labeled fragments, conferring a high killing capability. Other recombinant techniques such as ADEPT, conjugate the specificity of antibodies to a prodrug-catalytic subunit thus creating a high local concentration of an activated chemotherapeutic. Antibodies can be used to recruit the adaptive immune response by binding the antibody fragment to a recombinant MHC molecule displaying a highly immunogenic peptide. Apart from their therapeutic capabilities antibodies are powerful detection tools as observed in the operating theater in a procedure known as Radio-immunoguided Surgery (RIGS).
Keywords: Antibodies, Recombinant antibodies, cancer immunotherapy, Phage display, Antibody engineering, Immunotoxins
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