Antibodies are a central part of the immune response by binding antigens in vivo.
Molecule structure of a monoclonal antibody.
A monoclonal antibody (mAb) is an antibody derived from a single parent white blood cell (B-cell) which specifically binds to the same epitope. In contrast, polyclonal antibodies are derived from several different B-cell lineages and bind to multiple epitopes. Monoclonal antibodies are identical copies and can be manufactured in vitro in large quantities with consistent quality by fermentation at Boehringer Ingelheim.
Molecule structure of a monoclonal and a polyclonal antibody.
Monoclonal antibodies are created by the fusion of antibody producing cells with in vitro cultured immortalized malignant myeloma cells, resulting in a hybridoma cell. As these hybridoma cells retain some of the properties of a B-cell, they are able to generate and secrete antibodies. Additionally, they contain properties of the myeloma cells, rendering them immortal and relatively easy to cultivate in large-scale cell culture systems.
A clone with the optimal properties is selected and stored in a cell bank, enabling the repeated manufacturing of monoclonal antibodies for decades.