Tocilizumab (RoActemra®) is a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody directed against the human IL-6 receptor .

Tocilizumab is a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody against the human interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor produced in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells by recombinant DNA technology.

Mechanism of action

Tocilizumab binds specifically to both soluble and membrane-bound IL-6 receptors (sIL-6R and mIL-6R), thereby inhibiting sIL-6R and mIL-6R-mediated signalling. IL-6 is produced by a variety of cell types including T- and B-cells, monocytes and fibroblasts and involved in diverse physiological processes such as T-cell activation, induction of immunoglobulin secretion, induction of hepatic acute phase protein synthesis and stimulation of haemopoiesis. IL-6 is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases including inflammatory diseases, osteoporosis and neoplasia. 

Clinical use

In Europe, tocilizumab is indicated to treat:

  • adults with severe rheumatoid arthritis that is getting worse in methotrexate-naive patients
  • adults with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis whose previous treatments with disease modifying antirheumatic drugs have not worked well or were not tolerated 
  • children from 2 years of age with active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in whom other anti-inflammatory treatments have not worked well enough
  • children from 2 years of age with juvenile idiopathic polyarthritis in whom treatment with methotrexate has not worked well enough

Consult CHMP for details.

What can Sanquin do for you?

We have tests that:

  • can measure the levels of free drug in the serum; levels of therapeutic antibodies are assessed using validated ELISAs.
  • can measure the immunogenicity of tocilizumab; human anti-human antibodies are quantified using validated antigen-binding tests (radioimmunoassay or RIA).

As we have hands-on experience in these assays, we can provide you with accurate and reproducible test results. 

Send in samples

If you want to use our drug level or ADA testing services, fill out this form and send it to us along with 1 ml frozen serum sample per patient.