Custom Monoclonal Antibodies
Custom monoclonal antibodies have become an incredibly valuable resource for medical research, since this technology was developed in the mid nineteen seventies. Custom monoclonal antibodies are antibodies which have a single specificity and are secreted continuously by preserved hybridoma cells. A hybridoma is a biologically constructed hybrid of an antibody-producing lymphoid cell and a malignant (immortal) myeloma cell.
Let me try and explain custom monoclonal antibodies a little more clearly. Custom monoclonal antibodies are monospecific antibodies, which are the same as they are made using identical immune cells. Custom monoclonal antibodies are different to polyclonal antibodies, which are made from several different immune cells, as opposed to the single immune cells used in custom monoclonal antibodies.
It is possible to produce custom monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind to any substance. Those custom monoclonal antibodies can then be used to detect, or to purify, that substance. The practical implications of the use of custom monoclonal antibodies has had groundbreaking effects on medical research, and the production of custom monoclonal antibodies is now a vital tool in medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology.
In order to produce custom monoclonal antibodies, the first step involves the immunisation of a mouse with an antigen. When the mouse begins to produce antibodies to the antigen, its spleen is removed. Antibody-producing cells from the spleen are then fused with a myeloma cell line, one which is not antibody-producing and has been maintained in culture. The new cell line, which does produce antibodies, is briefly cultured before being injected into another mouse. Finally, the ascites fluid containing the custom monoclonal antibodies is harvested.
There is also such a thing as recombinant custom monoclonal antibodies using this method we research antibodies , where a virus or yeast is used in place of a mouse as the host. Relying on the rapid cloning of immunoglobulin gene segments, libraries of custom monoclonal antibodies are created with slightly different amino acid sequences. From there, antibodies with specifically desired specifities can be created.
Millions of custom monoclonal antibodies have been harvested since this amazing technology arrived on the scene. The development of custom monoclonal antibodies typically occurs in six main phases: Phase I: Immunization; Phase II: Cell Fusion; Phase III: Screening & Selection of Clones; Phase IV: Subcloning; Phase V: Colony Storage; and Phase VI: Supernatant and Ascites Production.
In order to avoid some of the side effects associated with humanised or chimeric custom monoclonal antibodies, two successful approaches have been identified. The first is known as ‘transgenic mice’, which has been the, by far, most effective. The second is ‘phage display’, which allows variable antibody domains to be expressed on filamentous phage antibodies.
Custom monoclonal antibodies have proved invaluable in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, MS, and transplant rejection.