Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been a mainstay of cancer therapy for over 30 years. The discovery of tumour-specific antigens has fuelled enormous interest in designing immunotherapies based on mAbs to target tumours directly, to deliver drugs into cancer cells or to redirect immune cells to kill tumours more effectively.
To date, most licensed anti-cancer mAbs and immune checkpoint inhibitors recognise protein-based targets. However, in many cancers, cell transformation accompanied by aberrant glycosylation results in the expression of abnormal glycans on tumour cells that, for example, promote tumour invasion. Such changes in glycosylation patterns are a well-known hallmark of cancer. Although glycosylation is one of the most common post-translational modifications of proteins and lipids, glycans have been largely overlooked despite their clear potential as cancer therapy targets. Scancell has now developed two novel antibody technology platforms: GlyMab® provides a method to generate novel, highly-specific anti-glycan mAbs, with the AvidMab® technology having the potential to enhance the avidity and potency of any mAb.