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 specifically 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
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 office via chemotherapy or, by combining radioactive particles
with the monoclonal antibodies, via radiation therapy.