Cancer treatment is one of the most critical concerns among clinical issues and generally depends on the tumour type and stage. The list of cancer drugs has exploded lately. This article will dissect the names of some common biologics and related drugs. This helps in drug understanding and prediction of their properties. MABs, MIBs, MIDs, NABs, and NIBs are the common types of drugs that are used in cancer treatment. These drugs work by targeting specific molecules or proteins in cancer cells, which helps inhibit cancer growth and spread.
What are MABs? MABs, (or monoclonal antibodies), are proteins that are created in a laboratory and are designed to bind to specific proteins or receptors on cancer cells. They are produced using techniques that involve growing large amounts of a single type of immune cell, which produces a specific type of antibody. These antibodies are then purified and used as drugs to treat cancer. Production of MABS from single B cells when combined with Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) can provide formidable platforms for cancer diagnostics and clinical therapeutics.
Mechanism of action: MABs work by targeting specific proteins or receptors on cancer cells, which helps inhibit cancer growth and spread. They can be administered through an intravenous (IV) infusion, which is a process in which the MABs are injected directly into the bloodstream. MABs are usually given once every few weeks, and the treatment duration can vary based on the specific type of cancer and the individual patient’s needs. MABs can be used to treat a variety of different types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, and ovarian cancer. Examples of MABs: Currently there are more than 30 Mabs approved for the treatment including Herceptin (trastuzumab), Rituxan (rituximab), and Avastin (bevacizumab) amongst others (Table 1).
What are MIBs? MIBs, or monoclonal immunoglobulins, are similar to MABs in that they are proteins that are produced in a laboratory and are designed to bind to specific proteins or receptors on cancer cells. Unlike MABs, MIBs are not produced using immune cells. Instead, they are produced using techniques that involve engineering cells to produce the desired proteins.
Mechanism of action: MIBs work by blocking proteasomes and preventing protein degradation inducing their accumulation which leads, leading to apoptotic cell death of tumor cells. By targeting specific proteins or receptors on cancer cells, they can inhibit the growth and spread of cancer. They can be administered through an intravenous (IV) infusion, which is a process in which the MIBs are injected directly into the bloodstream. MIBs are usually given once every few weeks, and the treatment duration can vary based on the specific type of cancer and the individual patient’s needs. MIBs can be used to treat a variety of different types of cancer, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukaemia. Examples of MIBs: Velcade (Bortezomib), Kyprolis (Carfilzomib) amongst others (Table 1).
What are MIDs? MIDs (Molecularly-Targeted Drugs) are a type of cancer treatment that specifically targets the molecules or pathways involved in cancer cell growth and spread. Mechanism of action of MIDs: These drugs work by inhibiting or blocking the activity of specific proteins, enzymes or receptors on cancer cells that contribute to the cancer process, thereby slowing or inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells. These monoclonal immuno-drugs are drugs that are made from MABs or MIBs that have been modified to be more potent and effective at targeting cancer cells. Examples of MIDs are Thalomid (Thalidomide), Revlimid (Lenalidomide), and Pomalyst (Pomalidomide) amongst others (Table 1).
What are NABs? NABs or novel immuno-biologics are nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems, also known as nanomedicines or nanotherapeutics, are a type of drug delivery system that uses nanoparticles to target and deliver drugs to specific cells or tissues in the body. The drugs are modified to be more potent and effective at targeting cancer cells. These nanoparticles, called nanoscale drug delivery vehicles, can be made of a variety of materials such as polymers, lipids, or metals, and are designed to carry a specific drug payload. Mechanism of action: NABs work by targeting specific proteins or receptors on cancer cells, which helps to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer. In cancer treatment, nanomedicines can be used to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells, which can help to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and improve its effectiveness. For example, nanoparticles can be designed to specifically target cancer cells, such as by attaching to specific receptors on the surface of cancer cells. This targeted delivery can help to reduce the amount of chemotherapy that is delivered to healthy cells, which can help to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Examples of NABs: Abraxane (Nab-paclitaxel), the first NAB, was first approved in 2005 by FDA. Another example of a NAB used in cancer treatment is Doxil (PEGylated liposomal doxorubicin; PLD). PLD is a chemotherapy drug encapsulated in a lipid-based NAB, allowing it to bypass the normal drug delivery pathways and target cancer cells more effectively (Table 1). Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems are still emerging, and more research is needed to fully understand their potential in cancer treatment. However, they have shown promise in early clinical trials and have the potential to significantly improve the delivery of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
What are NIBs? NIBs, or novel anti-cancer biologics, are Nucleic Acid-Based Drugs, a type of cancer treatment targeting the genetic material within cancer cells. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) are one such class of NIBs which are effective in the targeted treatment of various malignancies and work by inhibiting tyrosine kinases. They are usually produced using techniques that involve engineering cells to produce the desired proteins.
Mechanism of action: NIBs, or novel anti-cancer biologics, are drugs that are designed to target kinases to block the activation of downstream signalling pathways and hence help to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer. Examples of NIBs: Nexavar (Sorafenib), Tarceva (Erlotinib), and Mekinist (Trametinib), Imatinib amongst others (Table 1).
Cancer research is now focused on constant improvement in cancer therapeutics that are responsible for patient recovery and during therapy with minimal side effects. One of the main advantages of using these drugs in cancer treatment is that they are highly targeted therapies designed to specifically target the proteins or receptors on cancer cells, rather than affecting healthy cells as well. This can help to reduce the side effects of treatment and improve the overall effectiveness of the therapy.
The future is to utilize cutting-edge techniques like NGS to tailor these constantly evolving and improving novel targeted therapies according to specific molecular changes unique to each patient’s tumor type for personalized cancer care.
By: Dr. Richa Dave Jhaveri and Dr. Ashutosh Upadhyay, OneCell Diagnostics
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