This is a 3D print of a humanized antibody used in cancer immunotherapy. This type of antibody is known as “IgG4,” and works on the surface of white blood cells to block a protective mechanism of cancer. Without this protective mechanism, the antibody allows the immune system to destroy those cancer cells. Specifically, this IgG4 antibody targets the programmed cell death 1(PD-1) receptor.
The PD-1 receptor usually stops the immune system from attacking its own tissue. Cancer cells produce a compound that stimulates the white blood cell’s PD-1 receptor, stopping the white blood cell from killing the cancer cells. Blocking this receptor with antibodies allows the immune system to re-engage with diseased tissue and kill undesirable cells. Because of this type of mechanistic intervention, adverse effects are possible like inflammation and even type 1 diabetes.
Despite the adverse risks, antibodies like this are at the forefront of medicine, providing people with untreatable types of cancers with a new approach to improving patient outcomes.