Diabetes & Monoclonal Antibodies


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Antibodies are molecules of protein that are able to bind to antigens.( Antigens are molecules that are found on the surface of disease causing cells such as bacteria as well as on the surface of your own body cells, where they can easily be bound by antibodies). Antibodies are constantly found within your blood but can also be produced by the immune system. The immune system produces a wide range of antibodies to ensure that there will nearly always be an antibody that will be able to bind with any antigen that is introduced into your body (just like a key fits into a lock). Monoclonal antibodies are identical as they are all produced by the same immune cell so they are all exactly the same type (the same “key”). Monoclonal antibodies are beginning to be used as therapy for certain diseases as they are able to very specifically bind to the disease causing antigens in large numbers in order to eradicate the disease. For type I diabetes, monoclonal antibody therapy is being developed where antibodies are produced that bind to a molecule called CD3 which has become known as anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody therapy. CD3 would usually bind to the CD3 receptor on your immune cells (T cells) that then assists the T cells in destroying the β-cells of your pancreas (which is what causes you to fail to produce insulin). By using anti-CD3 to bind to CD3, the CD3 is unable to bind to the T cells so your T cells do not respond by causing the killing of your β-cells.  


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