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Anti-Tumor Monoclonal Antibodies in Conjunction with β-Glucans: A Novel Anti- Cancer Immunotherapy

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Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have greatly advanced the field of anti-cancer immunotherapy and have made a major impact in clinical medicine. While more mAbs have been approved by the FDA and entered into the clinical therapeutic arena with indications to treat various solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, extensive efforts have also been made to make mAb therapy more effective. Combination therapy of anti-tumor mAbs with chemotherapeutic drugs has been widely used in the clinical patient care. In addition, many immune stimulating agents have been specifically studied for this very purpose. One compound in particular, β-glucan, has shown very promising and exciting results in pre-clinical animal models and early phase human clinical trials. β-Glucans are naturally occurring, abundant polysaccharides with different structures that can be extracted and purified from fungi, bacteria, oats and barley. The active components of yeast-derived β-glucan exert their unique immune stimulating functions by binding specifically to complement receptor 3 (CR3) via lectin-like domain (LLD) and activating CR3 to promote cellular cytotoxicity of iC3b-coated cancer cells. In addition, particulate yeast-derived β-glucan stimulates both innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune responses. This review covers the anti-cancer mechanisms of anti-tumor mAbs and β-glucans, the pre-clinical studies done with β-glucans in conjunction with anti-tumor mAbs in human carcinoma xenograft models, and the preliminary results of human clinical trials with different β-glucans, as well as those of phase I/II and III studies using the combination of yeast-derived soluble β-glucan and anti-tumor mAbs.
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Keywords: ADCC; CR3; cancer immunotherapy; complement; leukocytes; mAb; macrophages; neutrophils; targeted therapy; β-Glucans

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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