Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Anticytokine Therapies - confusing names?

Ever get confused with medical terminology? Happens to me all the time. Anticytokine therapies and other biologics are revolutionizing the treatment of some serious diseases. Here's an example of a patient with psoriasis who responded to alefacept.

When you're talking about some of the newer biologic agents, you may find that they're easy to mix up. Here's a helpful guide regarding nomenclature.

Abbreviations placed at the ends of the names convey specific information relating to their structure:

* "-cept" refers to fusion of a receptor to the Fc part of human IgG1
* "-mab" indicates a monoclonal antibody (mAb)
* "-ximab" indicates a chimeric mAb
* "-zumab" indicates a humanized mAb

Etanercept is a classic example of a TNF receptor fusion protein. Infliximab is a chimeric mAb directed against TNF. Certolizumab and tocilizumab are humanized mAbs.

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