Therapeutic antibodies: successes, limitations and hopes for the future


Patrick Chames, Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Macromoléculaires, CNRS, UPR9027, GDR2352, 31 chemin Joseph Aiguier, F-13402 Marseille Cedex 20, France. E-mail:


With more than 20 molecules in clinical use, monoclonal antibodies have finally come of age as therapeutics, generating a market value of $11 billion in 2004, expected to reach $26 billion by 2010. While delivering interesting results in the treatment of several major diseases including autoimmune, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, cancer and inflammation, clinical trials and research are generating a wealth of useful information, for instance about associations of clinical responses with Fc receptor polymorphisms and the infiltration and recruitment of effector cells into targeted tissues. Some functional limitations of therapeutic antibodies have come to light such as inadequate pharmacokinetics and tissue accessibility as well as impaired interactions with the immune system, and these deficiencies point to areas where additional research is needed. This review aims at giving an overview of the current state of the art and describes the most promising avenues that are being followed to create the next generation of antibody-based therapeutic agents.

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