Guide: What Is A Monoclonal Antibody?

Monoclonal antibodies are immunoglobulins that have been manufactured using duplicate immune cells cloned from one particular parent cell. Released by specialized white blood cells called plasma cells, antibodies are responsible for targeting and neutralizing illness-causing pathogens that have invaded the body. By identifying a component of a bacteria or virus called an antigen, antibodies “tag” a pathogen for a direct attack or for a full-fledged assault from the immune system. Producing sufficient amounts of antibodies to prevent the body from continually suffering illness is the primary objective of the humoral immune system.

Making Monoclonal Antibodies in the Laboratory

After immunizing a mouse with the necessary antigen, myeloma cells, or cancerous plasma blood cells, are fused with the mouse’s spleen cells. Recently, advances in hybridoma technology has also discovered a way to utilize B cells of a rabbit to produce rabbit hybridoma. Single parent cells give rise to clone antibodies which are analyzed to determine how well they can bind to an antigen. Scientists then remove the most stable and productive clones for future use in eliminating a disease or illness.


The Importance of Monoclonal Antibodies

The utility of monoclonal antibodies cannot be overstated. Some of their uses include:

*Diagnosing AIDS with the ELISHA test
*Over the counter pregnancy test kits
*Radioimmunotherapy and radioimmunodetection of cancer
*Treating serious viral diseases such as meningitis and human papillomavirus (HPV)
*Eliminating organ rejection issues in patients experiencing heart, lung, liver or kidney tranplants
*Reducing the severity of Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis

Current attempts at designing monoclonal antibodies to inhibit growth factors that all carcinomas require in order to perpetuate abnormal cell proliferation is ongoing and shows promise. In addition, monoclonal antibodies are also being tested as a method to deliver immunological materials that are not associated with viral diseases or cancers. For example, MAs are being manufactured against enzymes and fibrins to produce a substance capable of dissolving blood clots correlated with strokes or arterial embolisms.

How Do Monoclonal Antibodies Fight Against Cancer?

Because the immune system is fallible, it does not always identify cancer growths as dangerous to the body. By placing monoclonal antibodies that target specific areas of cancer cells into the body, these antibodies catch the attention of the immune system by vigorously highlighting the pathogenic nature of the cell.

Erbitux is a monoclonal antibody recently approved as an acceptable treatment for neck, colon and brain cancers. Once it binds to cancer cell receptors responsible for acquiring epidermal growth factors, it then blocks the signal to begin reproducing that was originally intended for cancer cells. Erbitux has been shown to delay growth or eliminate growth altogether in some early to middle-stage cancers.

Juila is currently working on her masters degree in biology and enjoy blogging about her passion. To learn more about custom monoclonal antibody please visit

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