Monoclonal antibody research skyrocketed in the 1980s. By the next decade, they hit the market and today, some of the drugs with the highest revenue are the “mabs” – Humira, Remicade, Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin.
“Nanomedicines can become the third pillar of drug development,” following pharmaceuticals and biologics – bringing physics more into play in the life sciences, he said.
A first generation application for nanomedicine was liposomal doxorubicin in ovarian cancer, said Neil Desai, vice president of strategic platforms at Celgene.
A second gen application, Desai continued – Abraxane, the cancer drug he actually worked on. Albumin-bound Abraxane was far more effective in treating pancreatic cancer than the drug alone.
“That’s the idea of nanomedicine here,” Desai said. “The tumor needs to feed itself. Let’s give it the food, then send in an agent to destroy it.”
The third generation, Desai said, is using nanomedicine in monoclonal antibody therapy. Nanomedicine comes in by attaching chemotherapeutic payloads to the antibodies, helping them enter the tumor cells and kill them.
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