Monoclonal antibodies are the natural products of hybrid cells called hybridomas, which are obtained from fusion of cultured myeloma cells with spleen cells from an immunized animal. Monoclonal antibodies can have high specificity and affinity for various determinants (epitopes) in compounds and macromolecules with low molecular weight.
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The presence of such an inexhaustible and easily reproducible source of antibodies, which can be obtained from cell culture supernatants of constant and fluid hybrid cell lines from animal ascites, promises to significantly increase our knowledge of biology at the cellular, subcellular and molecular levels.
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In the future, hybridoma technology should enable the production of excellent diagnostic tools and the development of new therapeutic reagents. Hybrid myeloma technology for monoclonal antibody production is widely used in many fields of biological and medical research.
Strategies for eliminating monoclonal antibodies require careful consideration of factors such as early immunization with the antigen, choice of myeloma cell line, and the method of antibody analysis desired.
Once the hybrid lines are isolated and formed in culture, they secrete monoclonal antibodies indefinitely, allowing routine cloning to eliminate accumulated variants. Human monoclonal antibody production is currently limited by the lack of suitable parenteral myeloma cell lines, although some success has been reported using mouse and human cell lines.
Under many test conditions, monoclonal antibodies behave differently from antiserum raised against the same antigen, but some of these differences are eliminated when two or more monoclonal antibodies are mixed. The unique properties of monoclonal antibodies can also allow for good differentiation between closely related antigens.