, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 319-330
Date: 08 May 2010

Monoclonal antibodies — a proven and rapidly expanding therapeutic modality for human diseases

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The study of antibodies has been a focal point in modern biology and medicine since the early 1900s. However, progress in therapeutic antibody development was slow and intermittent until recently. The first antibody therapy, murine-derived murononab OKT3 for acute organ rejection, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1986, more than a decade after César Milstein and Georges Köhler developed methods for the isolation of mouse monoclonal antibodies from hybridoma cells in 1975. As a result of the scientific, technological, and clinical breakthroughs in the 1980s and 1990s, the pace of therapeutic antibody discovery and development accelerated. Antibodies are becoming a major drug modality with more than two dozen therapeutic antibodies in the clinic and hundreds more in development. Despite the progress, need for improvement exists at every level. Antibody therapeutics provides fertile ground for protein scientists to fulfill the dream of personalized medicine through basic scientific discovery and technological innovation.