Monoclonal antibodies

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, a monoclonal antibody could:

A monoclonal antibody may also carry radiation directly to the cancer cell. This treatment is not widely used and may only be available as part of a research trial (clinical trial).

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 Targeted therapy explained

What is targeted therapy?

Targeted therapy drugs target something in or around a cancer cell that is helping it grow and survive.

Angiogenesis inhibitors

Angiogenesis inhibitors are drugs that make it difficult for a tumour to develop a blood supply.

Cancer growth inhibitors

Cancer growth inhibitors are drugs that block signals that tell cancer cells to develop or divide.