Monoclonal antibody immunotherapies

All cells have receptors on their surface. Receptors help cells send or receive signals. A receptor is a bit like a lock. Only the right key fits the lock. Another cell or substance can only connect to the receptor if it is the right fit.

Monoclonal antibodies are made so they can only connect to one type of receptor. Most monoclonal antibodies target receptors that are mainly found on cancer cells. Some target receptors that are found on other cells in the body.

By connecting to the cell’s receptor, monoclonal antibody immunotherapies can help the body’s immune system by:

  • blocking signals that stop white blood cells attacking cancer cells (also called a checkpoint inhibitor)
  • connecting to cancer cells to help the immune system find and attack them.

If you know the name of the monoclonal antibody you are looking for, you can use our alphabetical list of targeted and immunotherapy drugs to find it. You can find more information about:

  • what the treatment is
  • how it is given
  • possible side effects.

Back to Immunotherapy explained

Checkpoint inhibitors

Checkpoint inhibitors block signals that are stopping the immune system from attacking cancer cells.