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Monoclonal Antibody

German: Monoklonaler Antikörper

1 Definition

Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that are produced by a cell clone that stems from a single B lymphocyte. They are directed against a certain, single epitope.

2 Origin and Production

In nature, monoclonal antibodies are formed in a paraneoplastic manner in multiple myelomas. Here, a malignant plasma cell population produces a single pathological antibody.

For medical or technical purposes, the hybridoma technology is used. Here, B lymphocytes that produce the desired antibody (and that could stem from a population that produced polylonal antibodies), are fusioned with myeloma cells and consecutively cultivated. in 1984, César Milstein, Georges Köhler and Niels Jerne received the Nobel prize for medicine for developing the hybridoma technology.

Searching for new monoclonal antibodies was sped up by biopanning with phage display approaches.

3 Medical use

Monoclonal antibodies can be used for medical purposes.

3.1 Diagnosis

Numerous diagnostical procedures rely on the use of antibodies, e.g. radioimmunoassays and ELISAs. The use of monoclonal antibodies has the advantage that the same charge is used and the results are thus reproducible.

Furthermore, monoclonal antibody are used in in-vivo diagnostics. Examples are:

3.2 Therapy

Increasingly, monoclonal antibodies are used for therapeutic purposes. Here specific binding of monoclonal antibodies to certain epitopes (e.g. receptors) with cosecutive blocking of their biological action is used.

Examples are (among others):

3.3 Research

Monoclonal antibodies are also used in research. Examples are Western Blots, FACS and Magnetic Bead Assays.

4 Classification

Monoclonal antibodies are classified according to an international terminology. Single syllables of the name designate the use of the antibody and the species of origin:

Prefix Target infix Origin infix Suffix
Variable -o(s)-: Bone -u-: human -mab
-vi(r)-: Virus -o-: mouse
-ba(c)-: Bacteria -a-: rat
-li(m)-: immune system -e-: Hamster
-le(s)-: Infection -i-: Primat
-ci(r)-: Cardiovascular System -xi-: Chimeric (e.g. mouse-human or hamster-human)
-mu(l)-: Musculoscelettal System -zu-: humanized
-ki(n)-: Interleukin -axo-: Hybrid (rat-mouse)
-co(l)-: Colon tumor
-me(l)-: Melanoma
-ma(r)-: Mamma tumor
-go(t)-: testicular tumor
-go(v)-: Ovarian tumor
-pr(o)-: Prostata tumor
-tu(m)-: Tumor (gerneral)
-neu(r)-: Nervous system
-tox(a)-: Toxine
-fu(ng)-: funghi


  • Ri-tu-xi-mab: Chimeric antibody for the treatment of tumors
  • Ada-lim-u-mab: Humaner immunotropic antibody
  • Ab-ci-xi-mab: Chimeric antibody with cardiovascular target

5 Sources and references

This page was last edited on 7 April 2014, at 13:28.

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