The Medical Uses of Monoclonal Antibodies

Dale E Yelton, Matthew D Scharff


Although antibodies have had many uses in research and medicine, the difficulties of producing high-titer specific antisera have often limited the role of serological reagents. Recently, a technique for fusing cultured myeloma cells to primary immune lymphocytes has made it possible to generate continuous cell lines secreting antibodies of predefined specificity. Because of the immortality and clonal nature of these hybridoma lines, the monoclonal antibodies they produce represent a homogeneous and well-defined re­agent that is available indefinitely and in unlimited amounts. Monoclonal antibodies can be generated to a wider range of antigens than can conventional antisera and are uniquely suited to a number of clinical as well as scientific purposes. Because of their interaction with phagocytic cells and components of normal immunoregulatory circuits, however, the use of monoclonal antibodies in vivo could have undesired effects. We have approached this problem by investigating the possibility of generating variant hybrldoma lines secreting antibodies with mutations in the constant region domains responsible for immunoglobulin effector functions. We have generated several such lines with a number of potentially useful functional alterations.


monoclonal antibodies; serological reagents



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