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Drug Discov Today. 2012 Sep;17(17-18):954-63. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

The future of antibodies as cancer drugs.

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Center for the Study of Drug Development, Tufts University School of Medicine, 75 Kneeland Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Targeted therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have proven successful as cancer drugs. To profile products that could be marketed in the future, we examined the current commercial clinical pipeline of mAb candidates for cancer. Our analysis revealed trends toward development of a variety of noncanonical mAbs, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecific antibodies, engineered antibodies and antibody fragments and/or domains. We found substantial diversity in the antibody sequence source, isotype, carbohydrate residues, targets and mechanisms of action (MOA). Although well-validated targets, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and CD20, continue to provide opportunities for companies, we found notable trends toward targeting less-well-validated antigens and exploration of innovative MOA such as the generation of anticancer immune responses or recruitment of cytotoxic T cells.

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