Alaska Clinical Research Center

Antibody Therapy

Antibody therapy is a relatively new method of biological cancer treatment that seeks to help the patient’s body identify and destroy cancer cells.

A person’s body normally defends itself again foreign antigens, such as bacteria and viruses, by producing antibodies, which are proteins that attach to the antigens and then recruit the rest of the body’s immune system to neutralize the cells containing the foreign antigens.

Recently, doctors have developed ways to create molecules called “monoclonal antibodies” in a laboratory environment that are engineered to attach themselves to specific cancer cells. Hopefully, attaching the laboratory-produced antibodies to the cancer cells will make those cells “more visible” to the patient’s body and stimulate the patient’s immune system into attacking the cancer cells.

Unfortunately, because antibody therapy is new, it has not been developed to treat every type of cancer and some types of antibody therapy are still considered experimental. Therefore, some forms of antibody therapy may be appropriate only for cancers that have not responded to better-established treatments.

That said, antibody therapy is so promising that doctors are working on developing versions to treat other diseases, as well, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

At the Institute, our oncologists can help you decide if antibody therapy is right for you and, if it is, how antibody therapy can be used effectively in concert with your overall therapy. We can administer antibody therapy here in our new office via chemotherapy or, by combining radioactive particles with the monoclonal antibodies, via radiation therapy.