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Biologics have transformed the landscape of cancer treatment, offering targeted and safer therapeutic options. These drugs are engineered to interfere with specific molecules or pathways involved in cancer growth, typically derived from living organisms or their components, such as antibodies, proteins, or cells. Below, we explore the ways in which biologics are used to provide effective and safe treatments for cancer.
1. Monoclonal Antibodies: Monoclonal antibodies are designed to target precise proteins present on or within cancer cells or the tumor microenvironment. They can disrupt cell signaling pathways, trigger immune responses, or deliver toxic substances directly to cancer cells. Notable examples include trastuzumab (Herceptin) for HER2-positive breast cancer and rituximab for B-cell lymphomas.
2. Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: These medications, like pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo), work by blocking proteins that inhibit the body’s immune response against cancer cells. This approach enhances the body’s natural defenses against cancer, leading to potentially safer and long-lasting treatment options.
3. CAR-T Cell Therapy: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy involves modifying a patient’s own T cells to express chimeric antigen receptors that specifically target cancer cells. This groundbreaking therapy has demonstrated significant success in the treatment of certain blood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and large B-cell lymphoma, and is often regarded as a safe and effective treatment.
4. Cytokines: Cytokines are signaling proteins that can be utilized to stimulate the immune system’s attack on cancer cells. Interferon and interleukin-2 are examples of cytokines used in cancer treatment, especially for melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.
5. Cancer Vaccines: Cancer vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system to recognize and target cancer cells. Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) is an example of a cancer vaccine used in prostate cancer treatment. These vaccines provide a safe and targeted approach to treatment.
6. Angiogenesis Inhibitors: Biologics like bevacizumab (Avastin) target the development of new blood vessels that supply tumors with nutrients and oxygen. By inhibiting angiogenesis, these drugs can slow tumor growth and are often administered in combination with other treatments.
7. Antibody-Drug Conjugates: These innovative therapies consist of monoclonal antibodies coupled with cytotoxic drugs. The antibody specifically targets cancer cells, delivering the toxic drug directly to them, thereby minimizing harm to healthy cells. Examples include ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla).
8. Bispecific Antibodies: These antibodies have the ability to bind to two different targets, often facilitating the proximity of immune cells to cancer cells, thereby promoting an immune response against the tumor. Blinatumomab (Blincyto) is a bispecific antibody used in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Biologics offer numerous advantages in cancer treatment, including improved specificity and reduced toxicity when compared to traditional chemotherapy. However, like all medical interventions, they come with potential side effects and may not be suitable for all types of cancer. The choice of treatment is contingent on the specific type and stage of cancer, as well as individual patient factors. Patients should consult their oncologists to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment for their particular situation.
Vigilare Biopharma Pvt. Ltd.
Plot no 52,57,1st Floor,
Novel Techpark,Ground floor, #46, Hosur Rd, Krishna Reddy Industrial Area, Hosapalaya, Bengaluru – 560068.
NEW JERSEY, USA
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Monroe NJ 08831