The Adjuvant Effects of Antibodies

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Science  19 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6045, pp. 944-945
DOI: 10.1126/science.1210801

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Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are perhaps the most exciting, specific, and flexible vehicle for treating cancer. Major leaps in the engineering of mAbs over the past three decades have improved their effectiveness against target antigens. CD40, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily expressed on antigen-presenting cells, is one such target, but so far the clinical efficacy of a mAb against this molecule in cancer patients has been limited. On page 1030 of this issue, Li and Ravetch (1) demonstrate that a mAb to CD40, with enhanced binding to another protein on antigen-presenting cells, increases activation of the antigen-presenting cells and thereby promotes an adaptive immune response. This has implications for the design of other therapeutic mAbs.