Anti‐idiotypic antibodies (anti‐IDs) were discovered at the very beginning of the 20th century and have attracted attention of researchers for many years. Nowadays, there are five known types of anti‐IDs: α, β, γ, ε, and δ. Due to the ability of internal‐image anti‐IDs to compete with an antigen for binding to antibody and to alter the biologic activity of an antigen, anti‐IDs have become a target in the search for new treatments of autoimmune illnesses, cancer, and some other diseases. In this review, we summarize the data about anti‐IDs that mimic the structural and functional properties of some bioregulators (autacoids, neurotransmitters, hormones, xenobiotics, and drugs) and evaluate their possible medical applications. The immune system is potentially able to reproduce or at least alter the effects of any biologically active endogenous or exogenous immunogenic agent via the anti‐idiotypic principle, and probably regulates a broad spectrum of cell functions in the body, being a kind of universal remedy or immunacea, by analogy to the legendary ancient goddess of universal healing Panacea (Πανάκεια, Panakeia in Greek) in the treatment and prevention of diseases, possibly including non‐infectious somatic and even hereditary ones.
- Agonistic autoantibodies
- Anti‐idiotypic antibodies