Production and Uses of Monoclonal Antibodies

The production of monoclonal antibodies is achieved by the formation of hybridoma cells. As the name suggests, hybridoma cells are formed from the hybridization, or fusion, of two types of cells. The first component of a hybridoma cell is a myeloma cell. Myeloma cells are cancerous plasma cells, which, like all cancerous cells, are immortal. The second component of a hybridoma cell is a spleen cell. Each spleen cell produces a single specific antibody. Thus, when the myeloma cell and spleen cell are fused, the resulting hybridoma is an immortal cell producing one specific, or monoclonal, antibody.

Steps in producing monoclonal antibodies:

The cartoon below is a depiction of the formation of a hybridoma and the production of monoclonal antibodies:

Figure 1. This figure outlines the steps in creating a hybridoma clone necessary for monoclonal antibody production.

Once monoclonal antibodies are isolated, there are various uses. They are usually used as probes in various molecular biological techniques such as Western Hybridizations or Chemiluminescence. Furthermore, monoclonal antibodies are increasingly being used as therapeutic agents in such diseases as cancer. Finally, production of monoclonal antibodies can allow biologists to study the structure of that particular antibody to determine critical reasons why it recognizes specific epitopes.


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