Dual Action Antibodies

The human immune system is incredibly complex and contains a large variety of different methods for fighting off disease-causing agents like bacteria and viruses. When dealing with cancerous cells, or any kind of damaged or unusual cells for that matter, it uses something called antibodies in order to eliminate them. These antibodies latch on to a specific type of molecule laying on the surface these cells called an antigen. Once the antibody has become attached to the antigen, it acts as a red flag of sorts, drawing in the immune system to the abnormal cell so that it will be destroyed. Cancer cells are often difficult for these naturally produced antibodies to find, and so avoid the attention of the immune system. Because the natural antibodies are not sufficient when dealing with cancerous cells, scientists have developed something called monoclonal antibodies in order to help treat cancer. These monoclonal antibodies are artificially engineered molecules that take the place of normal antibodies, and are specifically designed to bind onto antigens that are found much more often on cancer cells than healthy ones. These antibodies all work to deal with cancer cells in a variety of different ways. One type of antibody is designed to block the connection between a cancer cell and the proteins that cause cell growth. Another type of antibody prevents your body from producing new blood vessels, eliminating the blood supply to the tumors. Some of these antibodies are even designed to directly attack cancer cells, causing them …