Therapeutic Antibodies Targeting Potassium Ion Channels

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Monoclonal antibodies combine specificity and high affinity binding with excellent pharmacokinetic properties and are rapidly being developed for a wide range of drug targets including clinically important potassium ion channels. Nonetheless, while therapeutic antibodies come with great promise, K+ channels represent particularly difficult targets for biologics development for a variety of reasons that include their dynamic structures and relatively small extracellular loops, their high degree of sequence conservation (leading to immune tolerance), and their generally low-level expression in vivo. The process is made all the more difficult when large numbers of antibody candidates must be screened for a given target, or when lead candidates fail to cross-react with orthologous channels in animal disease models due to their highly selective binding properties. While the number of antibodies targeting potassium channels in preclinical or clinical development is still modest, significant advances in the areas of protein expression and antibody screening are converging to open the field to an avalanche of new drugs. Here, the opportunities and constraints associated with the discovery of antibodies against K+ channels are discussed, with an emphasis on novel technologies that are opening the field to exciting new possibilities for biologics development.




Bednenko, J., Colussi, P., Hussain, S., Zhang, Y., & Clark, T. (2021). Therapeutic Antibodies Targeting Potassium Ion Channels. In Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology (Vol. 267, pp. 507–545). Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH.

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