for new solutions
drugs that O'Donnell and his collaborators work on are not your
usual cancer drugs. These drugs employ antibodies that specifically
target cancer cells and have been tagged with radioactive particles
called isotopes that can deliver lethal doses of radiation to tumor
are proteins the body usually makes in response to an infection,
such as the streptococcal bacterium that causes strep throats. They
work through a lock-and-key mechanism that allows them to identify,
lock onto, and neutralize the intruding agent.
the antibody is specifically targeted to the tumor cells, the radioactivity
is much higher there, but it spares most healthy tissue so patients
experience only minimal discomfort," he said. "There's
no hair loss or nausea and vomiting. And patients don't have to
antibodies that O'Donnell uses are called monoclonal antibodies
because they are cloned from a single cell and are therefore identical.
use them because we know they identify and lock onto cancer cells
of a certain type," he said. "So if we are working with
a patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, we use an antibody we know
will recognize these lymphoma cells."
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