Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

To be viable therapeutics, antibodies must be tolerated by the human immune system. Rational approaches to reduce the risk of unwanted immunogenicity involve maximizing the 'humanness' of the candidate drug. However, despite the emergence of new discovery technologies, many of which start from entirely human gene fragments, most antibody therapeutics continue to be derived from non-human sources with concomitant humanization to increase their human compatibility. Early experimental humanization strategies that focus on CDR loop grafting onto human frameworks have been critical to the dominance of this discovery route but do not consider the context of each antibody sequence, impacting their success rate. Other challenges include the simultaneous optimization of other drug-like properties alongside humanness and the humanization of fundamentally non-human modalities such as nanobodies. Significant efforts have been made to develop in silico methodologies able to address these issues, most recently incorporating machine learning techniques. Here, we outline these recent advancements in antibody and nanobody humanization, focusing on computational strategies that make use of the increasing volume of sequence and structural data available and the validation of these tools. We highlight that structural distinctions between antibodies and nanobodies make the application of antibody-focused in silico tools to nanobody humanization non-trivial. Furthermore, we discuss the effects of humanizing mutations on other essential drug-like properties such as binding affinity and developability, and methods that aim to tackle this multi-parameter optimization problem.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Immunol

Publication Date





antibody, computational, humanization, humanness, nanobody, therapeutics, Humans, Single-Domain Antibodies, Animals, Computational Biology, Antibodies