Authors: Sander S.van Berkela & Floris L.van Delftab


Target-specific killing of tumor cells with antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) is an elegant concept in the continued fight against cancer. However, despite more than 20 years of clinical development, only four ADC have reached market approval, while at least 50 clinical programs were terminated early. The high attrition rate of ADCs may, at least in part, be attributed to heterogeneity and instability of conventional technologies. At present, various (chemo)enzymatic approaches for site-specific and stable conjugation of toxic payloads are making their way to the clinic, thereby potentially providing ADCs with increased therapeutic window.

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