Molecular change to immunotherapy antibody could accelerate immune response to cancer

On the road, putting a foot on the gas or brake pedal controls the car’s speed. This also happens in our body, in driving an immune response. Like human drivers, antibodies have a “foot”—a sort of molecular limb that “presses” the gas and brake pedals. Those pedals are receptors on the outer membranes of immune cells: When an antibody foot binds to one of these pedals, it can either speed up the immune response or slow it down. Among their other uses, antibodies are employed in a new generation of cancer treatments known as immunotherapy, which harness the immune system’s natural capabilities to fight malignant tumors. And as far as these cancer-fighting antibodies are concerned, speed is of the essence.

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