Monoclonal antibodies

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Monoclonal antibodies are identical antibodies that recognise one specific epitope[1].

Contents

Production:

First an antigen is injected into a host organism (e.g. rabbit or mouse). The hosts immune system will the start to produce antibodies against the antigen. To see if the desired antibody has been produced a blood sample of the model organism is then taken-if positive the spleen is removed[2].

The B-cells in the spleen producing the antibodies are released by being placed in a certain medium. However, the B-cells are unable to survive outside of the host organism very well. To overcome this problem the B-cells are fused with Myeloma cells (a malignant cancer) producing Hybridoma cells which can rapidly divide and continue to produce the antibodies[3]. The Hybridoma cells are individually separated out and grown in culture. The cultures will now contain identical cells all producing a single immunoglobulin in each generation. All the antibodies produced in the culture are the same and are monoclonal antibodies[4].

Uses:

Pregnancy testing:

Monoclonal antibodies bind to a specific hormone (hCG) which is released after conception. The monoclonal antibody is usually coated in a substance which is able to change colour depending if the antigen-antibody complex has been formed[5].

Anticancer treatments:

Monoclonal antibodies can be made to specifically recognise cancer cells. The genes encoding specific antibody subunits are cloned, and the area encoding the antigen-binding region is combined with human DNA sequences encoding the rest of the antibody to produce a humanised monoclonal antibody[6]. Anticancer drugs can be bound to the antibody and released when the antigen-antibody complex has formed. This allows the treatment to directly target the cancer cells and not harm the other healthy cells[7]

References

  1. Goldsby RA, Kindt TJ, Osborne BA. Kuby Immunology. 4th Edition. 2000.
  2. Perry, et al. Producing Monoclonal Antibodies [Internet]. Sinauer Associates; 2002. Available from: http://www.sumanasinc.com/webcontent/animations/content/monoclonalantibodies.html
  3. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Gatto Jr GJ, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 8th Edition. United States of America: W.H. Freeman and Company; 2015
  4. Perry, et al. Producing Monoclonal Antibodies [Internet]. Sinauer Associates; 2002. Available from: http://www.sumanasinc.com/webcontent/animations/content/monoclonalantibodies.html
  5. Unknown. The Immune System [Internet]. Wales: Biology Innovation. Available from: http://www.biology-innovation.co.uk/pages/human-biology/the-immune-system/
  6. Hardin J, Bertoni G, Becker W. Becker’s World of the Cell. 9th Edition, Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited. 2017
  7. Unknown. The Immune System [Internet]. Wales: Biology Innovation. Available from: http://www.biology-innovation.co.uk/pages/human-biology/the-immune-system/
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