One of the ways we fight infection is to make antibodies. They help our immune system to recognise an infection if we are exposed to it again and to enable our body to deal with it quickly. Antibodies can be made in a laboratory and used to treat cancer.
Monoclonal antibodies are sometimes called targeted therapies because they work by 'targeting' specific proteins on the surface of the cells. They destroy the cancer by either:
- triggering the body’s immune system to attack the cancer cell and can cause the cell to kill itself or
- attaching a cancer drug or a radioactive substance to the antibody which delivers them directly to the cancer cell because they target those specific cells (targeted therapy).