Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monoclonal antibodies

In our textbook, Anatomy & Physiology, we have a large boxed essay in the chapter on Immunity (Chapter 21) on the topic of monoclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are antibodies produced from a single, identical group of effector B-cells--a group called a clone. The antibodies therefore are all identical and act against the same antigen.

We have had, for quite some time, technology available to produce large quantities of mAbs by artificial means. And so we have been using mAbs for various therapies for decades.

Old news, right?

Well, hold on there . . . maybe not.

Like almost any technology in the life sciences, mAb technology has seen some recent advances that makes "old" technology work even better.

For example, a FREE article in PLoS Medicine recently described the production of mAbs that act against the avian flu. Wow. That means that we potentially have the means to use artificial passive immune therapies (rather than active vaccines) against this worrisome infection.

Prophylactic and Therapeutic Efficacy of Human Monoclonal Antibodies against H5N1 Influenza
Simmons CP, Bernasconi NL, Suguitan Jr. AL, Mills K, Ward JM, et al.
PLoS Medicine
Vol. 4, No. 5, e178 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040178

A September 23 article at the Nature website summarizes some of these advances, including some of the problems still faced by researchers trying to apply mAb technology to human therapies. Check out this FREE article:

Monoclonal antibodies come of age
Heidi Ledford
Nature.com Published online 23 September 2008 | 455, 437 (2008) | doi:10.1038/455437a

1 comment:

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