What are monoclonal antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are a type of protein, specifically generated so they have monovalent affinity, thus binding to only one epitope. This type of antibody is produced by immunising a host animal, resulting in a humoral immune response.
The antibody-producing splenocyte cells are isolated and used for in vitro fusion to pre-cultured malignant myeloma cells. The hybridomas that survive the fusion step are isolated using HAT medium and cultured. Hybridoma cells are immortal due to the characteristics of their myeloma origin and because of the B-cells that are fused, hybridoma clones can secrete homogeneous antibodies against the epitope, that the original host was immunised against.
The antibodies obtained are monoclonal, and their biggest advantage over polyclonal antibodies is their single epitope specificity and stable supply, as they continue to be synthesised from the immortal hybridomas.
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