Using Monoclonal Antibodies to Treat Cancer

by GuestPoster on January 31, 2012

In recent years the medical community has invested more resources than ever before into finding an effective cure for cancer. Cancer, in its various forms, has taken its toll on our society. Recent studies indicate that almost every American citizen has been affected by this invasive disease, whether personally or through a beloved friend or family member. Cancer has been notoriously difficult to treat in the past, but new advances in research and technology are providing hope to thousands of cancer patients throughout the world. Many of these advancements have come in the field of tumor reduction and prevention, and a significant portion of the success can be attributed to monoclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies play a crucial role within the body’s immune system. These specialized cells are designed specifically to seek out and bind themselves to foreign substances within the body. Once this bond has taken place, the cells to which the monoclonal antibodies have attached themselves are marked for destruction by the immune system. This is the same process by which the body protects itself from common ailments, such as a cold or the flu. As more information is gathered regarding cancerous cells within the body, researchers have begun to notice that monoclonal antibodies attach themselves not only to the cancer cells themselves, but to the cells and molecules necessary for tumor growth. By attempting to restrict the size of the tumor, the immune system is allowing itself the opportunity to deal with the cancer cells themselves. Using the knowledge they have gained regarding monoclonal antibodies, researchers have created a new method of treating cancer known as immunotherapy.

One of the benefits that monoclonal antibodies possess as a treatment for cancer is their ability to bind themselves to both cancer cells and anticancer drugs. Many of the medications that doctors use to combat the growth of cancer cells within the body can create harmful side effects on the patient. Most medications are designed to stop cancer cells from growing by exposing them to toxins. Unfortunately, this means that many healthy cells are exposed to the toxins as well. By introducing monoclonal antibodies into the mix, doctors can reduce the side effects experienced by many patients. Since the monoclonal antibodies adhere to the anticancer medications, the toxins contained in those medications can be released to target cells only. Modern day cancer medications are designed to release their toxins only after the monoclonal antibodies they are attached to have located, and bonded to, a cancer cell.

This means there is less damage sustained by the body as a whole, and the treatment received by a patient can be targeted to the cells within the tumor only. With each study that is conducted, the medical community is discovering just how useful monoclonal antibodies can be in the fight against cancer. These specialized cells essentially provide an opportunity for the body to assist in its own recovery. Traditional medications, and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, can often wear the body down. Limiting the amount of toxins that are introduced into the body by using monoclonal antibodies has helped patients endure their cancer treatments with relative ease. In addition to increasing the comfort level of patients, monoclonal antibodies have also helped to reduce the amount or peripheral damage that has been associated with cancer treatments. As more information is gathered about these cells that play such an important role within the immune system, doctors are discovering additional ways to use them in the fight against cancer. Many monoclonal antibodies are being duplicated in labs throughout the country, making it possible for every cancer patient to receive the best treatment possible.

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