Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced antibodies used in research and for treatment of disease. They are important tools in biochemistry, molecular biology and medicine. They are made from a tissue culture of a single cell (clone) known as a hybridoma that is produced from a single B cell lymphocyte or another antibody-producing cell source. The antibodies produced are highly specific for and recognize a single antigen, often only one chemical component on a target molecule. They can be produced in mass quantities using the cell culture method. Monoclonal antibodies are used to identify specific protein molecules, to purify cells used for stem cell transplants, to diagnose diseases by immunophenotyping cells or to protect against disease-causing organisms. They are also used in the treatment of cancer by attaching them to chemotherapy drugs or radioactive substances being used in treatment therapies. Because the monoclonal antibody binds to specific cnacer cell antigens, it can deliver the treatment drug or radiation directly to the cancer without affecting healthy tissue. For example, Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody used to seek out human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 or Her2 and other monoclonal antibodies have been used for targeted delivery of drugs to leukemia or lymphoma cells. Rituximab (Rituxan) is a monoclonal antibody designed to destroy B lymphocytes responsible for the tissue damage in Dermatomyositis.