How does treatment with monoclonal antibodies work?
One of the ways our immune systems attack foreign substances and elements is by creating large numbers of proteins called antibody receptors, also known as antibodies. Each of these antibodies circulate throughout our bodies looking for unique targets on the surface of antigens (unhealthy cells that stimulate an immune response). When an antibody finds its target, it attaches to the antigen and forces other parts of the immune system to fight the unhealthy cell.
Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made antibodies created in drug form that mimic the benefit of natural antibodies and their ability to fight off illnesses and treat a wide variety of diseases, including some cancer types, by targeting certain antigens.
Some monoclonal antibodies are called targeted therapies because they have a specific target on specific cancer cells they aim to find and attack. However, other monoclonal antibodies can act like immunotherapy, as they work to make the immune system simply respond better to allow the body to look for and attack cells more effectively.