Light-activated antibodies in the fight against primary and metastatic cancer

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The very cytotoxic potency of therapeutic antibodies used in the fight against cancer makes their specific tumour targeting of crucial importance. Unfortunately, in practice, this is often not achieved and can lead to dangerous side-effects. A way of greatly reducing such side-effects is to make the antibodies region-specific to the areas bearing tumour. This can now be achieved by rendering them light dependent so they are only active where illuminated.

There are many ways of employing such light enhanced targeting in very many locations within the body. When it is applied to direct killer T-cells to ovarian primary tumours, not only is primary tumour growth markedly reduced but also a dramatic reduction of metastatic growth is observed in the liver. In this article Stephen Thompson, Alexander C. Selfand Colin H. Self describe how photo-activation technology will improve the targeting of therapeutic conjugates to tumours by increasing their effective specificity. When used in conjunction with improvements in recombinant antibody production techniques and rapidly evolving light-delivery systems, it should be possible to build a wealth of extremely effective, highly tumour-specific therapies in the near future.

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