Enhancement of Hormone Activity by Monoclonal Antibodies
The exploitation of genetic engineering technology has made available many protein hormones and mediators for clinical application in man; however, it is becoming progressively apparent that some of these recombinant molecules (e.g. TNF, IL-1, IL-2) retain high levels of toxicity in vivo. As a result of such observations, there is increasing interest in ways of improving the biological half-life and specificity of potential therapeutic agents. At the same time, it is also becoming apparent that many hormones/ mediators recognise several receptor subtypes distinguished by properties such as structure, affinity, specificity and tissue origin. It is probable that the different cellular receptors for hormones have evolved in order to provide an additional step in the complex regulatory process leading to a physiological response. Recent evidence also suggests some cellular receptors are released into the circulation in order to act as “carrier” proteins for hormones. Whether this effect is important to protect the relevant hormone from degradation or to provide a more optimal delivery and function is as yet unclear.
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