Monoclonal antibodies have long been the focus of research surrounding drug development against inflammatory diseases and cancer. For decades, researchers have had to travel along a strenuous path to get to where we are now.
After monoclonal antibodies (mAb) were discovered in the first half of the 20th century, researchers quickly understood that animals, such as mice and rabbits could be used to produce antibodies for human therapeutic use.
Murine monoclonal antibodies were used until the late 1900s. Soon, however, it became apparent that the disadvantages outweighed their positive characteristics: next to a lack of efficacy, the antibodies’ murine origin triggered strong immune responses, so-called human anti-mouse immune (HAMA) responses, in humans.
Circumventing dangerous immune responses
HAMA responses led to allergic reactions with varying severity in treated humans, and sometimes even to life-threatening situations. Consequently, scientists had to admit that something else had to be done.
They began studying ways to reduce and eradicate HAMA responses.