We’ve recently had the opportunity to work with a customer in the field of Antibody drug conjugates. This is a very high-tech field that has a tremendous amount of promise for cancer patients.
ADCs are the result of many different parts of the medical field coming together to benefit cancer patients. Understanding of the molecular biology of tumors, cellular metabolism, biopharmaceutical production of antibodies, “small molecule” purification of drugs, and linking all of that together in a way that is successful for patients in the clinic is key to the success of these “magic bullets”. As you can imagine, bringing a successful product to market with this many moving parts is challenging!
Our bodies naturally produce antibodies. These antibodies attach to “foreign” particles and help destroy and remove them from the body. They also attach to various cellular receptors to signal the cell to do something.
An ADC takes advantage of this activity. By chemically connecting a drug that is used in chemotherapy to an antibody that attaches to cancer tumors, a new drug delivery system is created. This system specifically targets cancer tumors and delivers the drug where it’s needed -within the cancer tumor. This makes the drug more effective and allows for much lower side effects of the drug because it is at a much lower dose and is impacting diseased cells (as opposed to diseased and healthy cells in normal chemotherapy).
The FDA has recognized the potential of ADCs and has granted “fast-track” approval status to several ADCs that show great promise in treating cancers that have not been controlled by other existing drugs, or which have no drug therapy at all.
What an exciting time to be involved in this new field of medicine!