Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 368–378 | Cite as

A history of immune globulin therapy, from the harvard crash program to monoclonal antibodies

  • Melvin Berger
Article

Abstract

Processes for the large-scale fractionation of human plasma using cold ethanol were initially developed by Edwin Cohn and his colleagues at Harvard to provide albumin as a treatment for shock in World War II. Procedures for further purification of gamma globulins and other proteins precipitating at lower concentrations of ethanol were then developed by Oncley et al. Gamma globulin rapidly replaced convalescent and animal sera for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases such as measles, hepatitis, and polio, then came into widespread use as replacement therapy in the primary immune deficiencies, which emerged in the antibiotic era of the early 1950s. Although it took 40 years to develop preparations of gamma globulin that could be safely given intravenously, the eventual accomplishment of that goal has led to better treatment of antibody deficiency syndromes and also the wide use of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Those uses continue to expand even as monoclonal antibodies are being introduced for specific infectious diseases in high-risk populations.

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Copyright information

© Current Science Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melvin Berger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Allergy, Immunology, and RheumatologyUniversity Hospitals of Cleveland/Rainbow Babies and Children’s HospitalClevelandUSA

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