The Harley Street Breast Clinic

Routine and rapid breast screening with same-day diagnosis, advice and treatments for all breast problems.

3rd Floor, 148 Harley Street, London, W1G 7LG

A revolution in breast cancer treatment – Armed Antibodies

Some of the most effective drugs ever used are called antibodies, one of the best examples of which is Herceptin in breast cancer. These are proteins made to target specific molecules on the surface of cancer cells. When they bind to the cancer cells, the cancer cells are killed in a complex way involving activation of the immune system.

Tuesday 7th February 2012

Some of the most effective drugs ever used are called antibodies, one of the best examples of which is Herceptin in breast cancer. These are proteins made to target specific molecules on the surface of cancer cells. When they bind to the cancer cells, the cancer cells are killed in a complex way involving activation of the immune system. One of the great things about antibodies, is that they are not associated with many toxicities and side effects that are typical for cancer drugs, such as hair loss, mouth sores, of risk of infection.

One of the problems with antibodies is quite often they don’t work very well by themselves. Instead, they need chemotherapy to be given to generate a combined killing effect on the cancer cell. A disadvantage with this is that it has considerable side effects. Now, scientists have successfully linked chemotherapy to antibodies, so that the chemotherapy is delivered precisely to the cells where it is needed. This means you have all of the advantages of chemotherapy, and none of the drawbacks.

These proteins are now called armed antibodies and work like a smart bomb, using the antibody to take the chemotherapy to the cancer cell avoiding normal tissues. They have not been easy to make and formulate but scientists have now finally got to grips with this issue. In theory, a huge new range of drugs can be made by combining different antibodies with different chemotherapies. Even new chemotherapy agents can be used and one of the tricks is to successfully link the chemotherapy drug to the antibody molecule. The results in human trials look very impressive and patients with very resistant and progressive cancers now have new hope. This is just one way patients with breast cancer now have more options and alternatives to help make them better.

Contact our Breast Care Team

If you would like to refer a patient to the clinic or require further information on the services offered then please call our Breast Care Team on +44 (0)20 7908 6071 or fill out the contact form below:

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