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Science 333 (6045): 944-945

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Adjuvant Effects of Antibodies

Mark J. Smyth, and Michael H. Kershaw

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are perhaps the most exciting, specific, and flexible vehicle for treating cancer. Major leaps in the engineering of mAbs over the past three decades have improved their effectiveness against target antigens. CD40, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily expressed on antigen-presenting cells, is one such target, but so far the clinical efficacy of a mAb against this molecule in cancer patients has been limited. On page 1030 of this issue, Li and Ravetch (1) demonstrate that a mAb to CD40, with enhanced binding to another protein on antigen-presenting cells, increases activation of the antigen-presenting cells and thereby promotes an adaptive immune response. This has implications for the design of other therapeutic mAbs.

Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, 3002 Victoria, Australia. University of Melbourne, 3010 Victoria, Australia.

E-mail: mark.smyth{at}

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