Targeted therapies are treatments that work by using the body's own immune system to fight the cancer.
There are different types of targeted therapies, including:
• Monoclonal antibodies
• Cell Signal Blockers
• Antibody-Medicine Conjugates
• Checkpoint Inhibitors
antibodies are a more specific therapy than chemotherapy, meaning that they are
directed at a target that is primarily located on tumour cells, as opposed to
normal body cells. Monoclonal antibody drugs are treatments that enlist natural
immune system functions to fight cancers. These drugs may be used in
combination with other treatments. Not only does this make for very effective
lymphoma treatment, it also greatly reduces the side effects, as normal cells
are minimally affected.
monoclonal antibodies work?
One way the immune system attacks foreign substances in the body
is by making large numbers of antibodies. An antibody is a protein that sticks
to a specific protein called an antigen. Antibodies circulate throughout
the body until they find and attach to the antigen. Once attached, they can
recruit other parts of the immune system to destroy the cells containing the
Researchers can design antibodies that specifically target a certain
antigen, such as one found on cancer cells. They can then make many copies of
that antibody in the lab. These are known as monoclonal antibodies
monoclonal antibodies are available for the treatment of NHL and many more are
under clinical investigation. The most commonly used monoclonal antibody in the
treatment of lymphoma is MabThera® (rituximab).
Cell Signal Blockers
understand a lot more about the pathways within lymphoma cells that make them
divide and keep them alive. Often
signals reaching the surface trigger a series of steps along one or more
pathways for the lymphoma cell to be able to divide and survive. Scientists have found that blocking either
the signal or a key step in the pathway can make the lymphoma cells die.
of new medicines have been developed to target these signals and pathways. Ibrutinib is one such new medicine that
targets an important pathway in B cells and it starting to be used successfully
in some B cell lymphomas and clinical trials are being utilised to work out how
to best use this medicine.
now new medicines that can change the response of the immune system in a person
who has lymphoma called immunomodulator medicines. Lenalidomide is one such new medicine that
modulates the immune system in a number of ways. These include blocking some of the signals
between immune system cells, also blocking some of these signals inside
lymphoma cells and stopping new blood vessels being able to grow in or around
the lymphoma cells therefore causing the lymphoma cells to stop growing and
These new medicines are made up of an
antibody which targets lymphoma cells joined to a chemotherapy medicine. This chemotherapy medicine cannot simply be
given into the blood stream on its own because of its side effects, so the
antibody it is joined to, allows the chemotherapy medicine to be delivered
directly to the lymphoma cells. The
lymphoma cells can therefore die without the wide spread side effects of the
These medicines include Brentuximab
Vedotin which is a new targeted medicine being used in certain types of
lymphoma by targeting the CD30 protein found on the surface of lymphoma cells.
Check point inhibitors are a new class
of medicines that block signalling through check points in a cell which are
used by lymphomas to evade detection by your immune system. These medicines include Nivolumab which is a
checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the PD-1 receptor on a cell allowing the
body to launch an anti -lymphoma response which causes the lymphoma cells to