PIKAMAB, based in Menlo Park, CA, believes that it can make monoclonal antibodies more effective by grouping patients together based on their genotype and offering a customized antibody
There are 200+ monoclonal antibody therapies in clinical trials.
Although this may seem like a 'quick' success story for personalized medicine, monoclonal antibody research for cancer treatment has a 3-decade backstory.
PIKAMAB is hoping specializing MA therapy by genotype will help combat a central problem: some patients respond VERY well to the treatments while some experience no benefits.
What do we hope to gain targeting MA therapies by genotype? Think of current monoclonal antibodies, which target certain types of molecules, as anti-aircraft guns - broader spectrum weapons that can be trained at identifiable enemy aircraft flying over.
But what happens if the enemy has a new ally flying a different kind of craft? Do you fire if the plane looks like it may be a friendly, or can't be positively ID'd as an enemy?
Genetic variations in protein receptors prevent immune cells from binding to Y-shaped molecules on Type B antibodies in some folks (who get no joy from current MA therapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases).
Researchers hope further specializing MA therapies based on one of 9 genotypes will turn those broader spectrum anti-aircraft gun-type approaches into the slightly more targeted personalized medicine equivalent of cruise missiles.
We're still not at the level of n=1 individual personalized medicine with MA genotyped therapies, but they would ideally provide a more 'stratified' approach - cruise missiles come in different classes based on factors like size, speed, payload, etc.
PIKAMAB research is looking at modifying the payloads of MA therapies slightly to see if we can provide a more guided approach to the genomic war on disease.