About this Research Topic
Clinically approved anti-tumor antibodies identify a restricted set of surface antigens on either the cancer cells, or on other cells directly or indirectly interacting with the neoplastic cells. Others, however, recognize antigens from soluble extracellular molecules participating in processes required for tumor development. This, together with the recent therapeutic success using antibodies against immunological checkpoints, which were able to reprogram the host anti-tumor immune response, and therefore increase the disease-free period on many patients, make us fully aware of the enormous potential of antibody-based cancer therapies.
In this Research Topic, we would like to discuss the burst on basic research, preclinical studies and new clinical applications as a consequence of the high discovery rate of additional/new molecules involved in tumor progression and the high effectiveness of Abs as therapeutic agents. In particular, we would like to discuss i) the different mechanisms used by these antibodies to modulate the anti-tumor immune response; ii) the generation of new antibodies identifying intracellular antigens (i.e. peptides loaded onto HLA class I molecules); and iii) the use of antibody cocktails, either recognizing different epitopes of a given antigen, or identifying different molecules over-expressed in particular tumors. This approach is especially relevant when the aim is to target cancer stem cells (CSC), for the lack of CSC-specific cell surface markers, making it difficult the use of antibodies to kill them.
Taken together, these issues lead to a nearly unimaginable expansion of the field of antibody-based therapies, allowing to envisage durable remissions after acute treatments, avoiding chronic treatments.
Keywords: therapeutic antibodies, tumor progression antigens, tailor-made antibody formats, antibody cocktails
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