, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 109-120

Human monoclonal antibodies

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The technology for the production of murine monoclonal antibodies has been refined enormously since its introduction in 1975. However, the technology for generating human monoclonal antibodies has only recently come into its own. In this review, three currently available approaches to the production of human monoclonal antibodies are described. These include the hybridoma technique, based on the fusion of antibody-producing human B lymphocytes with either mouse or human myeloma or lymphoblastoid cells; the EBV immortalization technique, based on the use of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to ‘immortalize’ antigen-specific human B lymphocytes; and the EBV-hybridoma technique, based on a combination of the first two methods.

The EBV-hybridoma system retains the advantageous features of the other two systems while overcoming their pitfalls and may be the current method of choice for producing human monoclonal antibodies with a defined specificity.

Recipient of a W.H.O. training scholarship in Tropical Diseases.
Fellow of the National Cancer Institute of Canada.