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Our scientific approaches

Working to combine our deep biologic knowledge with cutting-edge research technology to accelerate the delivery of advancements in cancer.

AbbVie scientists are working to combine deep biologic knowledge with cutting-edge research technology to accelerate the delivery of advancements in cancer.

We are currently evaluating over 20 investigational medicines for more than 20 types of solid tumours and blood cancers. Through our significant UK clinical trial investment, UK patients will play a key role in helping us bring innovative cancer medicines into routine use across the NHS. 

We strive to deliver transformative therapies that uniquely combine our deep and evolving knowledge in core areas of biology with our experience in cutting-edge technologies.

Key areas of biology

Regulated cell death – apoptosis

Apoptosis is a form of regulated cell death, a natural process that eliminates damaged, unneeded or dangerous cells from the body.1 Through our deep knowledge of apoptosis and the role impaired apoptosis can play in the proliferation of cancer cells, we are advancing novel cancer research.  


Immuno-oncology therapies aim to use the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer.Regular function of natural immune effector mechanisms for tumor detection and elimination may help prevent the growth and spread of tumors.

B-cell signaling

Interfering with the communication signals of malignant B cells is a potential strategy for treating some types of cancer.3 AbbVie is investigating key enzymes in the B cell receptor signaling complex that play an important role in the survival and expansion of malignant B cells.

Novel tumor targeting

Antigens are markers on cells that can be used to specifically target cells that express the marker, including cancer cells, with therapeutic agents.4 The ideal antigen is present on cancer cells but not on normal cells. At AbbVie, we are leveraging our expertise across multiple technology platforms to identify novel antigens and research therapeutic approaches needed to target them.

Our four core technologies being applied to discover potential cancer therapies are:

  • Antibody drug conjugates
  • Antibodies and bi-specifics
  • Targeted protein degradation
  • Cellular therapies

Learn more


  1. Cory S, Huang DCS, Adams JM. The Bcl-2 family: roles in cell survival and oncogenesis. Oncogene. 2003;22:8590-8607.
  2. Understanding the Role of Immuno-Oncology in Treating Cancer- Immuno-Oncology. Retrieved from: Accessed January 2019.
  3. Burger, JA, Ghia P, et al. The microenvironment in mature B-cell malignancies: a target for new treatment strategies. Blood. 2009. 114:3367-3375
  4. Alatrash G, Crain, A, et al. Chapter 7 – Tumor-Associated Antigens. Immune Biologic Allogeneic Hematopoeitic Stem cell Transplantation. 2019(2):107-125.