Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are a group of antibodies produced by identical clones of B lymphocytes against a particular antigen. mAbs are identical in several properties such as protein sequence, antigen-binding site region, binding affinity for their targets, and identical downstream functional effects. These characteristics of mAbs highlight their differences with the polyclonal antibodies which have heterogenous activities and recognize different epitopes on an antigen. Murine mAbs was the first generation of mAbs developed by hybridoma technology however, because of their murine origin, they can trigger the anti-mouse antibody response in the host which could accelerate mAb clearance and undesirable allergic reactions upon repeated administration. This issue was resolved by developing engineering methods toward producing less immunologic chimeric or humanized antibodies. mAbs applications have become a novel way of targeting antigens in a wide variety of diseases such as autoimmunity, malignancies, and asthma. In addition, high specificity and high affinity binding properties of mAbs make them effective biological reagents in immunodiagnostic assays. They can be used in diagnosis of infectious diseases and detection of certain antigens or in serological assessments for detection of antibodies against a certain antigen. This chapter summarizes the general properties of mAbs, their production processes, and their important diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Part of the book: Monoclonal Antibodies