Monoclonal Antibody

Monoclonal antibody technology allows us to produce large amounts of pure antibodies in the following way: We can obtain cells that produce antibodies naturally; we also have available a class of cells that can grow continually in cell culture. If we form a hybrid that combines the characteristic of "immortality" with the ability to produce the desired substance, we would have, in effect, a factory to produce antibodies that worked around the clock.

In monoclonal antibody technology, tumor cells that can replicate endlessly are fused with mammalian cells that produce an antibody. The result of this cell fusion is a "hybridoma," which will continually produce antibodies. These antibodies are called monoclonal because they come from only one type of cell, the hybridoma cell; antibodies produced by conventional methods, on the other hand, are derived from preparations containing many kinds of cells, and hence are called polyclonal. An example of how monoclonal antibodies are derived is described below.