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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Targeting Tumours

With existing monoclonal antibody drugs for the treatment of cancer having achieved blockbuster status, what further benefits can antibodies bring to the field of cancer therapeutics? For example, can the success of the anti-angiogenic Avastin® (bevacizumab, Roche) be equalled or bettered? The potential of targeting alternative or additional proteins involved in generating new blood vessels has been recognised; a deal has been secured around an antibody in development that binds placental growth factor (PlGF). Other treatment strategies in which antibodies are used to inhibit protein kinase function or induce cell death are also being developed.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF mAbs

It is now over 10 years since the first monoclonal antibody (mAb) drug was launched onto the market to treat cancer. Since then, the market for this class of drugs has grown rapidly, driving new growth in the cancer and pharmaceutical market as a whole. In 2006, four of the top 10 innovative cancer treatments were monoclonal antibodies: Rituxan/ MabThera (rituximab), Herceptin (trastuzumab), Avastin (bevacizumab) and Erbitux (cetuximab). Together, these treatments achieved sales figures in excess of $10 billion (1).


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Mats Hellström is a Senior Principal Scientist at BioInvent International and is responsible for preclinical research in the areas of angiogenesis, stroma biology and oncology. Prior to joining BioInvent, Mats was CEO of the drug discovery company, AngioGenetics AB. He has been a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet and has a PhD from Gцteborg University, Sweden.

Björn Frendéus is a Senior Principal Scientist at BioInvent International, responsible for preclinical research in the areas of inflammation and immunology and is also involved in target discovery. Before joining BioInvent, Bjцrn was a researcher at the Department of Clinical Immunology at Lund University in Sweden where he earned his PhD.

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Mats Hellström
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Björn Frendéus
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