Exploring Monoclonal Antibody Therapies in Disease Treatment with Biologics Software

Biologics Development

monoclonal antibody
Here, Killer T cells surround a cancer cell; however, monoclonal antibody therapies can help our immune systems better identify and destroy cancerous cells.
Image source: Flickr user NIH Image Gallery

There are sneaky cells in our midst. These cells travel under the cloak of darkness or more specifically, under the radar of our immune system. Some are cancerous cells, appearing exactly like our own cells; others are minuscule viral particles. Either way, the presence of these cells and particles can lead to disease and their ability to hide makes them especially difficult to treat.

In this context, monoclonal antibody therapy has become a life-line in the fight against “sneaky particles” by specifically binding to cancerous cells, for example, or faulty proteins.1 Once bound, researchers believe a patient’s immune system can then be stimulated to attack the offending cells or particles. Alternatively, monoclonal antibody therapies can be used to selectively deliver chemical agents (i.e. drug therapies) to cells2 or bind to cellular components of the immune system that will heighten its activity in order to combat disease.3

Challenges in Expanding the Use of Monoclonal Antibody Therapies

Generally, monoclonal antibody therapies render foreign invaders and cancer cells more visible to the immune system4, enabling the system to mount a sustained attack against the invaders or cancerous cells. Monoclonal antibody therapies can also block the continued growth of disease-causing components (i.e. cancer cells by binding to a growth factor, for example), another mechanism among the others mentioned above.

But the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat disease is currently limited, especially given the challenges we still face in producing effective monoclonal antibody treatments. For example, a patient could experience significant suffering if a monoclonal antibody targeted antigens on healthy cells, resulting in the death of cells that may be essential for biological function.5 Imagine if an antibody were to target motor neurons? Additionally, there are “limitations in biological activity” given that the cells targeted by a specific monoclonal antibody might not be easily accessible. And of course, monoclonal antibodies and biologic-based therapies are significantly more costly to make than their small molecule counterparts.

Biologics Solutions: Addressing Challenges and More

In order to move forward with new, monoclonal antibody-based therapies, research organizations must understand that the complexity of biological systems and biologics requires the optimization of the organization’s workflow and the documentation, management and analysis of experiments. Furthermore, the data produced from these experiments is likely immense. Software options such as BIOVIA Biologics Solution are designed specifically to prevent individuals from becoming inundated by data that then remains unanalyzed. Following are specific ways in which appropriate software can support the discovery of monoclonal antibody therapies:

Develop novel biologics: BIOVIA Biologics Solution enables researchers to discover new antibodies with tools such as protein alignment, clustering and annotation. Analytical software that includes simulations provides researchers with a tool for modeling the appearance and functionality of the monoclonal antibody, enabling scientists to quickly identify if an antibody has potential or is too complicated to mass produce.

Organization of sequencing and experimental data: Extensive testing is required for all potential drug therapies, especially when using biologics. Once a therapy is identified, cell lines and mouse models should be sequenced and carefully tested (i.e. immunohistochemistry, Western blots, RNA-seq) after administering the therapy to determine if the monoclonal antibody results in any changes that suggest potentially deadly off-target effects that might not be deadly in the mouse of cell line. BIOVIA Biologics Solution enables researchers to manage such high volumes of data.

At every stage of innovation, from the discovery of protein molecules to their safety testing, BIOVIA Biologics Solution offers essential components for improving workflow while increasing the chances that a company’s investment in a monoclonal antibody will become a successful therapeutic option. To learn more about BIOVIA’s Solution Offerings, please visit our website today.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoclonal_antibody_therapy
  2. “Immunotherapy: past, present and future,” 2003,
    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v9/n3/full/nm0303-269.html
  3. “The future of immune checkpoint therapy,” April 2015, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6230/56
  4. “Monoclonal antibody drugs for cancer: How they work,” February 7, 2014,
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/monoclonal-antibody/art-20047808
  5. “Biologics Drug Discovery: Steps to producing an antibody drug candidate,” http://www.genscript.com/gsfiles/techfiles/GenScript_Biologics_Webinar.pdf

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