Antibodies: Timeline of key events

Mouseover the event title for a more detailed description of the event (if available). To search for particular terms in the description of the event enter the term in the box below 'Event' on the table and press 'enter'. Alternatively use the dropdown lists to filter by Person, Place or Science. Click here to clear the filter.

Alemtuzumab was originally developed by Herman Waldmann as a laboratory tool to investigate immune tolerance. It soon became the first humanised monoclonal antibody drug. Initially alemtuzumab proved effective for helping prevent graft-versus host disease in transplant patients. It subsequently went on to be approved as a treatment for leukaemia and then many years later it was shown to be effective against multiple sclerosis. 2013-09-17T00:00:00+0000A pioneer of antibody engineering, Neuberger developed some of the first techniques for the generation of chimeric and humanised antibodies. He also helped create the first transgenic mice for the production of human monoclonal antibodies. His work paved the way for the generation of safer and more effective monoclonal antibody drugs. 2013-10-26T00:00:00+0000A Polish born virologist, Koprowski invented the world's first effective live polio vaccine. This he did while at Lederle Laboratories. He developed the vaccine by attentuating the virus in brain cells of a cotton rat. He injected the vaccine into himself in January 1948. The vaccine had the advantage that it entered the intestinal tract directly and provided long-lasting immunity. With a decade the vaccine had been adopted on four continents. Koprowski went on to become the director of the Wistar Institute where in the 1960s he led efforts to improve the rabies vaccine. He subsequently became the first scientist, together with colleagues, to hold a patent for monoclonal antibodies. Born to Jewish parents, Koprowski was forced to flee Poland in 1939 after Germany invaded the country. 2013-11-13T00:00:00+0000Edelman was an American biologist renowned for his research on antibodies, the body's defense against harmful foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. His research helped determine the chemical structure of antibodies in the early 1960s. It showed that antibodies were made up of two light and heavy chains linked together by disulfide bonds. The breakthrough immediately galvanised feverish activity in all fields of immunological science, paving the way to the development of antibodies for both diagnostics and therapy. Edelman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1972 for his work. 2014-05-17T00:00:00+0000The drug was developed by scientists at Medarex2014-09-01T00:00:00+0000The drug, a monoclonal antibody, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with melanoma. 2014-12-22T00:00:00+0000The drugs use a monoclonal antibody to block a protein known as PD-1, which functions as an immune checkpoint, being responsible for preventing the activation of T-cells. Promising results were presented to American Society for Clinical Conference from trials directed towards treating lung and skin cancer. 2015-06-05T00:00:00+0000The drug was developed by Genetech/Roche2016-05-01T00:00:00+0000J. Sevigny et al, 'The antibody aducanumab reduces A-beta plaques in Alzheimer’s disease', 'Nature', 37 (2016), 50-56.2016-09-01T00:00:00+0000It was the first time tyhe FDA approved an immune checkpoint inhibitor for the treatment of lung cancer. The drug was developed by Merck & Co.2016-10-24T00:00:00+0000Evidence collected from randomised, doublice-blind, placebo controled study of 27,000 patients in 49 countries between Feb 2013 and June 2015. MS Sabatine, et al, 'Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease', NEJM, 2017, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1615664.2017-03-17T00:00:00+0000Developed by EMD Serono, avelumab was the first FDA approved product to treat metastatic Merckel cell carcinoma. Approval was given on the basis of basis of a clinical trial of 88 patient, 33% of whom experienced a complete or partial shrinkage of their tumours. In patients who responded, 86% had a response that last 6 months, and 45% had a response that lasted more than 12 months. The drug is being developed through an alliance between Merck KGaA and Pfizer. 2017-03-23T00:00:00+0000L. Xu, et al, 'Trispecific broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies mediate potent SHIV protection in macaques', Science, 20 September 2017, Science, 20 Sep 2017, eaan8630, DOI: 0.1126/science.aan86302017-09-20T00:00:00+0000The drug, a form of immunotherapy, is a PDL1 checkpoint inhibitor.2017-09-20T00:00:00+0000Treatment was given to Leopold Fotso, a 33 year old man at King's College London using natalizumab, a drug licensed for multiple sclerosis. The trial is being led by Oliver Howe. 2017-11-03T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
17 Sep 2013European Commission approved Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) for MS treatmentCompston, Coles, WaldmannCambridge University, SanofiMonoclonal antibodies, Campath
26 Oct 2013Michael Neuberger diedNeubergerLaboratory of Molecular BiologyMonoclonal antibodies, Transgenic animals
13 Nov 2013Hilary Koprowski diedKoprowskiLederle Laboratories, Wistar InstituteVaccines, Monoclonal antibodies
17 May 2014Gerald M Edelman diedEdelmanRockefeller UniversityAntibodies, Immunology
Sep 2014FDA approved nivolumab (Opdivo®), an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeting PD1, for treating melanoma  Immune checkpoint inhibitors, Immuotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
22 Dec 2014First immune checkpoint inhibitor drug targeting PD-1 (nivolumab, Opdivo®) approved in US Honko, Freeman, LonbergMedarex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ono PharmaceuticalImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
5 Jun 2015Two immunotherapy drugs reported to stop cancer cells avoiding destruction by immune system Allison Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
1 May 2016FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq®), an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeted at PD1, for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma, the most common form of bladder cancer Genentech, RocheImmune checkpoint inhibitor, Immuotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
1 Sep 2016Monoclonal antibody drug for Alzheimer's Disease shown to be promising in phase II clinical trialsSevigny, Chiao, Bussiere, WeinrebBiogen, Neuimmune, Butler Hospital, University of ZurchMonoclonal antibodies, Neuroscience
24 Oct 2016FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test. MerckImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
17 Mar 2017Monoclonal antibody shown to effectively cut cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes SabatineMonoclonal antibodies, Cardiovascular
23 Mar 2017FDA granted accelerated approval to avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer treatment, in patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin disorderEMD Serono, Merck KGaA, PfizerImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Cancer immunotherapy, Oncology, Monoclonal antibodies
20 Sep 2017Combination of three monoclonal antibodies reported to protect monkeys from HIV Xu, Pegu, Rao, Doria-Rose, Beninga, McKee, Lord, Wei, Deng, Louder, Schmidt, Mankoff, Wu, Asokan, Beil, Lange, Leuschner, Kruip, Sendak, Kwon, Zhou, Chen, Bailer, Wang, Choe, Tartaglia, Barouch, O’Dell, Todd, Burton, Roederer, Connors, Koup, Kwong, YangSanhofi, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Scripps Research Institute, Monoclonal antibodies, Infectious diseases
20 Sep 2017Nivolumab (Opdivo®) made available for NHS patients with advanced lung cancer Honko, FreemanMedarex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ono PharmaceuticalImmune checkpoint inhibitors, Immunotherapy, Monoclonal antibodies
3 Nov 2017First patient treated in first clinical trial using monoclonal antibody drug to treat schizophreniaHoweKing's College LondonMonoclonal antibodies

17 Sep 2013

European Commission approved Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) for MS treatment

26 Oct 2013

Michael Neuberger died

13 Nov 2013

Hilary Koprowski died

17 May 2014

Gerald M Edelman died

Sep 2014

FDA approved nivolumab (Opdivo®), an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeting PD1, for treating melanoma

22 Dec 2014

First immune checkpoint inhibitor drug targeting PD-1 (nivolumab, Opdivo®) approved in US

5 Jun 2015

Two immunotherapy drugs reported to stop cancer cells avoiding destruction by immune system

1 May 2016

FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq®), an immune checkpoint inhibitor targeted at PD1, for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma, the most common form of bladder cancer

1 Sep 2016

Monoclonal antibody drug for Alzheimer's Disease shown to be promising in phase II clinical trials

24 Oct 2016

FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test.

17 Mar 2017

Monoclonal antibody shown to effectively cut cholesterol levels, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes

23 Mar 2017

FDA granted accelerated approval to avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer treatment, in patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin disorder

20 Sep 2017

Combination of three monoclonal antibodies reported to protect monkeys from HIV

20 Sep 2017

Nivolumab (Opdivo®) made available for NHS patients with advanced lung cancer

3 Nov 2017

First patient treated in first clinical trial using monoclonal antibody drug to treat schizophrenia