Our Approach to Hematology

Hematology medicines are never one-size-fits-all. We at Genentech are proud of our contributions to the treatment of blood diseases, but we know that many patients need new options. That's why we're working harder than ever to develop the next generation of medicines. Drawing on great scientific progress that has redefined the way we think about blood cancers and disorders, we're exploring new molecular targets and strategies to fight these devastating diseases in new ways.

Our approved and investigational medicines are born from science and are designed to work in a variety of ways.

For blood cancers, one approach is to deliver chemotherapy directly to cancer cells by using antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Antibodies' ability to hone in on specific targets may mean less damage to the rest of the body's cells.

Antibodies are also the basis for anti-CD20 therapies, which are designed to hunt down the cells that comprise certain lymphomas and leukemias based on a specific marker (CD20) on their surface. These antibodies are designed to eliminate cancer cells by harnessing the body's own defense system: immune cells. Anti-CD20 antibodies can also kill cancer cells directly.

Antibodies are powerful tools precisely because they can recognize one target among billions. At the same time, we know that many blood disorders, such as hemophilia A, involve more than one mechanism or pathway. Bispecific antibodies can help address this by recognizing and binding to two different targets.

Two other approaches for blood cancers involve signaling pathways within the cancer cell itself. One strategy is to block cancer's ability to thrive - i.e., signals that tell cancer cells to grow, survive, and spread. Our other strategy is to trigger cancer cell suicide. This process, known as apoptosis, can be initiated by many different signals. Targeting such signals is a major strategy in our hematology pipeline.

Together, these approaches and others on the horizon are bringing new hope to people with blood cancers and disorders. While one size certainly doesn't fit all, someday we just might have enough sizes to fit every one.