An antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) consists of a cytotoxin covalently linked to a monoclonal antibody (mAb) that recognizes an antigen differentially overexpressed on tumor cells.1 This allows for sensitive discrimination between malignant and healthy cells.1
These loaded antibodies are expected to selectively deliver lethal cargoes to tumor cells and provide sustained clinical benefit to pre-selected cancer patients while, at the same time, minimizing systemic toxicity.1
ADCs are engineered to have the antibody (1) track a specific tumor antigen bind themselves to the surface of cancer cells and, upon internalization (2) and processing within endosomes or lysosomes, the ADC drug releases its lethal cargo (3) leading to tumor cell death (4).
Treating cancer with cytotoxic agents introduces a risk of systemic adverse events.
Binding of the ADC to the recognized antigen triggers internalization and degradation of the mAb, which releases the cytotoxin inside the cell.
Ideally, ADCs may help provide a wider therapeutic index with potentially fewer side effects than "free" cytotoxic agents.
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