Targeting T cells with bispecific antibodies for cancer therapy

BioDrugs. 2011 Dec 1;25(6):365-79. doi: 10.2165/11595950-000000000-00000.


Bispecific antibodies (BiAbs) offer a unique opportunity to redirect immune effector cells to kill cancer cells. BiAbs combine the benefits of different binding specificities of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) into a single construct. This unique feature of BiAbs enables approaches that are not possible with single mAbs. Advances in antibody engineering and antigen profiling of malignant cells have led to the development of a number of BiAb formats and their combinations for redirecting effector cells to tumor targets. There have been significant advances in the design and application of BiAbs for intravenous and local injection.The initial barrier of cytokine storm has been partially overcome by more recent constructs that have improved clinical effectiveness without dose-limiting toxicities. Since the recent revival of BiAbs, there has been multiple, ongoing, phase I/II and III trials, and some promising clinical outcomes have been reported in completed clinical studies. This review focuses on arming T cells with BiAbs to create the 'poor man's cytotoxic lymphocyte'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / immunology
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bispecific