Intracellular Antibodies for Drug Discovery and as Drugs of the Future.
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The application of antibodies in cells was first shown in the early 1990s, and subsequently, the field of intracellular antibodies has expanded to encompass antibody fragments and their use in target validation and as engineered molecules that can be fused to moieties (referred to as warheads) to replace the Fc effector region of a whole immunoglobulin to elicit intracellular responses, such as cell death pathways or protein degradation. These various forms of intracellular antibodies have largely been used as research tools to investigate function within cells by perturbing protein activity. New applications of such molecules are on the horizon, namely their use as drugs per se and as templates for small-molecule drug discovery. The former is a potential new pharmacology that could harness the power and flexibility of molecular biology to generate new classes of drugs (herein referred to as macrodrugs when used in the context of disease control). Delivery of engineered intracellular antibodies, and other antigen-binding macromolecules formats, into cells to produce a therapeutic effect could be applied to any therapeutic area where regulation, degradation or other kinds of manipulation of target proteins can produce a therapeutic effect. Further, employing single-domain antibody fragments as competitors in small-molecule screening has been shown to enable identification of drug hits from diverse chemical libraries. Compounds selected in this way can mimic the effects of the intracellular antibodies that have been used for target validation. The capability of intracellular antibodies to discriminate between closely related proteins lends a new dimension to drug screening and drug development.
Chr Trans & Intra Ab Ther
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Antibodies, 2023, 12 (1), pp. 24 -