Written by Eashan Kotha
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment for diseases that affect the immune system by either improving, suppressing, or inducing an immune response . The goal of immunotherapy is to ideally jump-start the immune system into fighting invasive cells. The immune system uses proteins known as antibodies to neutralize foreign pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Monoclonal antibody therapy is one type of immunotherapy that utilizes a specific category of antibodies, called monoclonal antibodies . These antibodies bind to certain proteins or cells that could be harmful to the body. Monoclonal antibodies are versatile as they offer potential treatments for various diseases such as Ebola, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis .
Many antibody therapeutics have been developing over recent years and there has been a marked improvement in the amount of first stage approvals as research has progressed. To provide context, the industry simply met expectations for the amount of first marketing approvals in 2015 . However, in 2017, the development rate of these therapeutics has greatly increased, resulting in ten first approvals for antibodies in either the U.S (United States) or E.U (European Union). Such an approval rate is a significant achievement because it is the first time the figure hit double-digits, making it the highest approval rate developed thus far .
Understanding where the trajectory of antibody therapeutics is headed is important as it could impact treatment options for various diseases in the future. The ten antibodies that were granted approvals are as follows from Kaplon and Reichert's paper: “brodalumab, dupilumab, sarilumab, guselkumab, benralizumab, ocrelizumab, inotuzumab ozogamicin, avelumab, duvalumab, and emicizumab.” Of these ten monoclonal antibodies, four pertain to cancer, five are related to immune-mediated disorders and one is specific to hemophilia . It is critical for research in the field of immunology to continue in order to devise even more effective antibodies. Currently, there are 19 monoclonal antibodies undergoing evaluations from the period between late 2017 and 2018. The fact that this trend of increasing monoclonal antibody therapeutics development will continue into 2018 is encouraging, as these could be utilized to effectively treat diseases .
 Janeway C.A. Jr, Travers P., Walport M., et al. Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2001.
 Olinger, G. G. et al. 2012. “Delayed Treatment of Ebola Virus Infection with Plant-Derived Monoclonal Antibodies Provides Protection in Rhesus Macaques.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109(44): 18030–18035.
 Reichert, J.M. 2016. “Antibodies to Watch in 2016.” MAbs. 8(2): 197–204.
 Kaplon, H., Reichert, J.M. 2018. “Antibodies to Watch in 2018.” MAbs. 10(2): 1–21.
Edited by Myra Ali
Take a Seat. . . Or Maybe Not: The Effects of a Prolonged Sitting
The Key-to Weight Loss
DWI: (D)riving (W)hile H(I)gh