Scientists analyze structure of antibodies that could be key to more effective cancer treatments
Researchers at the University of Southampton have gained unprecedented new insight into the key properties of an antibody needed to fight off cancer.
The interdisciplinary study, published in Science Immunology, revealed how changing the flexibility of the antibody could stimulate a stronger immune response.
The findings have enabled the Southampton team to design antibodies to activate important receptors on immune cells to “fire them up” and deliver more powerful anti-cancer effects.
The scientists believe their findings could pave the way to improve antibody drugs that target cancer as well as other automimmune diseases.
In the study, the team investigated antibody drugs targeting the receptor CD40 for cancer treatment. Clinical development has been hampered by a lack of understanding of how to stimulate the receptors to the right level. The problem being that if antibodies are too active they can become toxic.
Previous Southampton research has shown that a specific type of antibody called IgG2 is uniquely suited as a template for pharmaceutical intervention, since it is more active than other antibody types. However, the reason why it is more active had not been determined.
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