Antibodies are being developed in novel ways to combat disease. Better understanding of the human immune system is leading to novel drugs that target tumours and viruses. We will have experienced a number of big discoveries in techniques to alter the body’s immune system to combat disease by the middle of 2022. The pandemic has prompted the creation of new vaccines, such as those based on mRNA, which will be used to defend us against other infections next year. However, there will be other approaches to using the immune system to combat disease.
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New sorts of antibody-based treatment will be one of them. Antibodies are created by the body in reaction to infection, and we’ve figured out how to use synthetic antibodies to identify cancer cells for elimination. We can also increase the reactivity of the body’s immune cells against cancer or reduce the immunological activity that causes rheumatoid arthritis difficulties. Antibodies are already used in seven out of ten of the most profitable drugs on the market. Antibodies are employed in a way that takes advantage of their innate capacity to bind to specific targets. Antibodies have mostly remained unchanged in terms of design. Everything will change in 2022.
We now have capabilities to change the basic structure of what an antibody is by applying genetic engineering or chemically isolating and recombining components of the protein. We’ll be able to make a wide range of antibody-based medications with these. We’ll be able to make antibodies that can recognise and attach to three different targets at once, such as a cancer cell, a receptor protein that activates immune cells, and another immune cell protein that amplifies the response, for example. An antibody that can lock onto three different regions of a virus’s outer coating, such as HIV, is already in development. This should make it more difficult for the virus to mutate and escape detection.
CAR T-cell therapy is another sort of immune-based medication that is expected to gain traction in 2022. T-cells from a patient’s blood are taken and genetically modified to give them a new receptor that targets the patient’s own malignancy. The modified T-cells are then put back into the patient, with the expectation that they will now be able to kill the cancer cells. This form of therapy is already in use to some extent: CAR T-cell treatment has been administered to certain children and young adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, with promising results but also unfavourable side effects and relapses in some patients. This form of therapy will be expanded in the coming year to include different types of immune cells, new versions of receptors, and so on. For example, CAR T-cells could be programmed to eliminate a fraction of the body’s own immune cells that is causing an autoimmune disease.
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We will be able to build new diagnostic techniques as our knowledge of the immune system grows. Artificial intelligence is already allowing us to analyse immune cells at a previously unheard-of level of detail. It’s also assisting us in correlating their parameters with things like the intensity of symptoms a person has had after contracting a coronavirus. We’ll be able to look for immunological signatures that link with severe instances of Covid-19 and other diseases next year, and we’ll be able to predict how a sickness will progress and alter treatment accordingly. Our growing understanding of the immune system will lead to novel drugs and medical methods in 2022 and beyond.