Feb 16, 2011 – Conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy, although controlling progression of diseases, are often associated with potential side-effects. For example side-effects due to chemotherapy in cancer range from nausea and hair loss to thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. Patients often succumb to death due to the side-effects and not the cancer. Chemotherapies do not possess the selective target characteristics. Once administered, they induce systemic action throughout the body leading to these potential side effects.
Targeted therapies such as monoclonal antibodies have thus far shown better efficacy and safety profiles compared to chemotherapies. However, they too do not induce complete remission of the disease. They either reduce signs and symptoms of the disease or slow down the growth of tumors. The inability of these therapies to cure diseases has created significant unmet needs in cancer, hepatitis, HIV and autoimmune diseases.
Many marketed monoclonal antibodies such as Avastin, Rituxan, and Remicade are being approved for multiple indications resulting in increased potential patient pool for these products. Alemtuzumab, which is approved for b-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, is in phase III clinical trials for multiple sclerosis. Remicade is approved to treat plaque psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, adult Crohn's Disease, pediatric Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Remicade is also in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of sarcoidosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cachexia, and asthma. Enbrel, has been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and plaque psoriasis.