You may have heard this term Monoclonal Antibody before from your physician or during education. These drugs are cancer treatments that enlist natural immune system functions to fight cancer. They may be used in combination with other cancer treatments. You immune system is there to fight and destroy disease causing agents. The antibodies in this treatment work to flag the cancer cells as bad so your immune system will work to destroy them by blocking their growth or destroying the cells itself. Mixed with Chemotherapy is can also attached itself to the cancer cell so that the chemotherapy gets delivered directly to the bad cell, while avoiding the healthy cells.
Some of the common drugs seen in the Oncology world are:
These types of treatments are not for all Diagnosis, but they have been approved for a number of cancers such as Breast, Lung, Lymphoma, Prostate, Gastric, Brain, Colon, Melanoma, and Head and Neck Cancers.
Common side effects associated with monoclonal antibodies:
- Allergic reactions, such as hives or itching
- Flu-like signs and symptoms, including chills, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches and pains
- Nausea, vomiting
- Skin rashes
- Low blood pressure
If you’re considering monoclonal antibody therapy as part of your cancer treatment, learn about these drugs and carefully weigh the benefits against the potential side effects and please speak with you physician here at Charleston Hematology and Oncology Associates.
Common questions to go over with your physician:
- Has my tumor been tested to see if a monoclonal antibody treatment might be of benefit?
- What are the likely side effects of monoclonal antibody treatment?
- Is monoclonal antibody treatment available in a clinical trial?