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Medical News and Perspectives
December 20, 1995

Reengineered Monoclonal Antibodies Step Up to the Plate in Cancer Studies

JAMA. 1995;274(23):1821-1822. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530230007002

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LIKE SPORTS FANS habitually disappointed when their team falters after a promising early season, researchers working on monoclonal antibody (Mab)— targeted cancer therapies are no strangers to initial enthusiasm followed by dashed hopes.

While Mabs found a ready place as diagnostic tools within a decade after investigators discovered how to mass-produce identical antibodies using mouse cells, efforts to develop Mab-based treatments were considerably less successful.

"Difficulties were underestimated, the time line was unrealistic, and the claims were overstated," said Lloyd J. Old, MD, director of the Cancer Research Institute's (CRI) scientific advisory council and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York, NY.

Now, with a better understanding of some of the pitfalls in bringing these Mabs into the human arena and the development of new generations of reengineered Mabs entering the clinic, some researchers at a CRI-sponsored conference in New York City expressed cautious optimism that the approach will

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