What are the new drugs like monoclonal antibodies?
The last 5 years has been the most active period in lymphoma drug development since the use of ABVD and CHOP chemo for Hodgkin's & NHL respectively. This is due to understanding the structure of the cancerous cells and developing treatments targeting the cancer. These treatments are called monoclonal antibodies. Using the mechanism that our own bodies use to attack cells, specially developed antibodies attach to antigens on the cancer cells. Then the bodies immune system can destroy the cell. Rituxan was the first of the antibodies developed and its use continues to grow in trials. Newer developments involve adding a radioisotope to the antibody to help kill the cancer cell. Bexxar was the first and is the most widely used to date. Zevalin is a newer drug in this class. I'll write more about these drugs and their use in Non-Hodgkin's treatment in coming days, stay tuned.