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chimeric antibodies

Chimeric antibodies are a type of engineered antibody used primarily in research, diagnostics, and therapy, particularly in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. They are called "chimeric" because they are made by combining genetic material from two different species, typically human and mouse. Here's a more detailed explanation:

1. Structure and Production: A chimeric antibody consists of the variable region of a mouse antibody, which is the part that binds to the antigen, and the constant region of a human antibody. This design is intended to reduce the immune response against the antibody when used in humans. The chimeric antibodies are produced using recombinant DNA techniques, where the genes encoding the mouse variable region and the human constant region are fused and then expressed in a host cell, typically a mammalian cell line.

2. Applications in Medicine: Chimeric antibodies are used in a variety of therapeutic applications. One of the most common uses is in targeted cancer therapy, where the antibody is designed to bind to a specific protein on the surface of cancer cells, marking them for destruction by the immune system. They are also used in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases, where they help to modulate the immune system's response.

3. Advantages: The main advantage of chimeric antibodies over fully mouse antibodies is their reduced immunogenicity in humans. Because most of the antibody is human-like, the human immune system is less likely to recognize it as foreign and generate an immune response against it. This makes chimeric antibodies more suitable for long-term treatments.

4. Limitations and Side Effects: Despite their advantages, chimeric antibodies can still induce immune responses, leading to reduced efficacy over time or allergic reactions. Research and development continue to improve their safety and effectiveness.

5. Examples: One well-known example of a chimeric antibody is rituximab, used in the treatment of certain types of lymphoma and leukemia, as well as some autoimmune diseases.

In summary, chimeric antibodies represent a significant advancement in the field of biologic therapeutics, offering more targeted and potentially less toxic treatment options for a variety of diseases.

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