Monoclonal antibodies are routinely used in biochemistry, molecular biology and medical research but the greatest achievement has been their use as therapeutic agents for the treatment of diseases such as breast cancer, leukaemia, asthma, arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's disease and transplant rejection. Important advances have been made over the past decade to improve the engineering technologies, safety and efficacy of the first generation of therapeutic antibodies. These developments, along with a greater understanding of the immunomodulatory properties of antibodies, have paved the way for the next generation of new and improved antibody-based drugs for the treatment of human diseases.

This Focus brings together the latest research on the basic biology of antibodies and on the development, function and future of therapeutic antibodies. All of the articles in this Focus are available free to registered users until 23 July 2010.

From the editors


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 285 (2010)


Therapeutic antibodies: past, present and future

Olive Leavy


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 297 (2010)

Research highlight

In Brief


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 291 (2010)


Can primary immunodeficiencies help to provide insights into infectious risks of therapeutic antibodies?

László Maródi & Jean-Laurent Casanova


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 299-300 (2010)



Strategies and challenges for the next generation of therapeutic antibodies

Alain Beck, Thierry Wurch, Christian Bailly & Nathalie Corvaia


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 345-352 (2010)

More than 30 monoclonal antibody-based therapies have been approved for clinical use in the past 25 years. By looking at the strategies that have been used by pharmaceutical companies to develop these products, this Timeline article provides insight into the challenges that will be faced in developing the next generation of therapeutic antibodies.


Therapeutic antibodies for autoimmunity and inflammation

Andrew C. Chan & Paul J. Carter


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 301-316 (2010)

Therapeutic antibodies have already improved the lives of many people living with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. But there is still room for improvement. Here, the authors review how the current therapeutic antibodies work and how they might be enhanced to increase efficacy and extend their use.

Monoclonal antibodies: versatile platforms for cancer immunotherapy

Louis M. Weiner, Rishi Surana & Shangzi Wang


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 317-327 (2010)

Monoclonal antibodies have shown considerable success as cancer therapeutics. This Focus article describes how these molecules promote tumour eradication by targeting the tumour itself or by targeting cells of the immune system. The authors also discuss the clinical potential of new antibody therapies.

FcγRIIB in autoimmunity and infection: evolutionary and therapeutic implications

Kenneth G. C. Smith & Menna R. Clatworthy


Nature Reviews Immunology 10, 328-343 (2010)

FcγRIIB is the only inhibitory Fc receptor for IgG, common genetic variants of which are associated with susceptibility to autoimmune disease but, also, with protection from severe malaria. Furthermore, understanding the function of FcγRIIB has important implications for the use of therapeutic antibodies.


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