Rituximab is an intravenous drug that is used to treat B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was the first therapeutic monoclonal antibody to treat cancer approved by the FDA.
Monoclonal antibodies are a relatively new type of “targeted” cancer therapy. Rituxan works by targeting the CD20 antigen on normal and malignant B-cells.
The body’s natural immune system is used to attack and kill marked B-cells but does not attack stem cells (young cells in the bone marrow that will develop into the any types of cells) as they do not have the CD20 antigen which, allows healthy B-cells to regenerate after treatment.