This is a replication of an original post (Understanding Biologic and Biosimilar Drugs) on the Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society. To read the full article, please click on the button immediately following the excerpt provided in this post.
Biological drugs, commonly referred to as biologics, are a class of drugs that are produced using a living system, such as a microorganism, plant cell, or animal cell. Like all drugs, biologics are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are different from “small molecule” drugs (think aspirin) in that they are generally larger, more complex molecules. Biologics are usually administered via injection or infusion. Most biologics in cancer care are given under the close supervision of a medical professional.
Biologics have been a part of medical treatment for a long time and have been used for treating cancer since the 1980s. Biologics can be used to treat cancer in a variety of ways. One way, immunotherapy, helps the body’s own immune system fight cancer cells. Other biologics are designed to slow down tumor growth and progression, or even help the body recover from other anti-cancer treatments.