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Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteA New Era of Targeted Cancer Therapy

Unlocking the Potential of ADCs: A New Horizon in Targeted Cancer Therapy

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) represent a significant advancement in cancer treatment, offering targeted therapy by combining potent drugs with specific antibodies to directly attack cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. Recent developments, including the approval of mirvetuximab soravtansine for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, highlight the growing role of ADCs in managing various cancer types, promising a new era of precision medicine in oncology.

Key Points:

  • Mirvetuximab soravtansine was approved for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, marking the first new treatment for this condition in nearly a decade, illustrating the impact of ADCs in cancer therapy.
  • ADCs are designed to deliver potent drugs directly to cancer cells, minimizing systemic exposure and reducing side effects, thereby offering a targeted therapeutic approach.
  • Over 80 new ADCs are currently under investigation, demonstrating the breadth of research and potential applications in different cancer forms.
  • ADCs are being explored in clinical trials for their use in early-stage disease and potential sequencing and combination with other therapies to enhance efficacy.
  • The flexibility in ADC design, including variations in the drug, linker, and targeting antibody, allows for a wide range of applications and tailoring of treatments to specific cancer types.
  • Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) and trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) are key ADCs for HER2-positive breast cancer, with trials comparing their efficacy and safety profiles.
  • Research is expanding into combining ADCs with other treatments, like immunotherapies, to explore synergistic effects and improve patient outcomes.
  • Ongoing studies investigate ADCs in various cancers, including those with lower levels of target antigens, challenging previous notions about the required abundance of target molecules for effective treatment.

“Now, we just need to find a little bit of target that’s hanging out on the cell. It’s changing the way we develop drugs and the way we think about cancer.”
– Sara Tolaney, MD, MPH, Chief of Breast Oncology and Associate Director of the Susan F. Smith Center

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