Developments in therapy with monoclonal antibodies and related proteins

Clin Med (Lond). 2017 Jun;17(3):220-232. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.17-3-220.


Monoclonal antibody therapeutics have been approved for over 30 targets and diseases, most commonly cancer. Antibodies have become the new backbone of the pharmaceutical industry, which previously relied on small molecules. Compared with small molecules, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have exquisite target selectivity and hence less toxicity as a result of binding other targets. The clinical value of both mAbs and ligand traps has been proven. New applications of mAbs are being tested and mAbs have now been designed to target two (bi-specific, eg TNF-α and IL-17) or more targets simultaneously, augmenting their therapeutic potential. Because of space limitations and the wide ranging scope of this review there are regrettably, but inevitably, omissions and missing citations. We have chosen to highlight the first successes in inflammatory diseases and cancer, but a broader overview of approved mAbs and related molecules can be found in Table 1.

Keywords: Biologic therapy; cancer; inflammation; monoclonal antibodies; traps.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / metabolism
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / therapeutic use
  • Biological Therapy*
  • Humans


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal