Courtesy of Abbott Laboratories
 BETTER LIVING THROUGH IMMUNOLOGY: Though the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is unknown, people suffering from the disease have an excess of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) that accumulates in their joints. Abbott Laboratories' Humira, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets TNF-a, helps prevent the inflammation characteristic of RA and inhibits the progression of structural joint damage.

As soon as Köhler and Milstein described hybridoma technology for generating monoclonal antibodies in 1975,1 the biomedical community began working to convert these tailor-made reagents into pharmacological magic bullets. Success didn't take long: In 1986, Orthoclone OKT®-3 from Bridgewater, NJ-based Ortho Biotech became the first therapeutic monoclonal antibody (mAb) to gain Food and Drug Administration approval for use as an immunosuppressant to reverse transplant rejection.

But therapeutic mAbs did not take off as expected because the nonhuman molecules (usually murine), generated...

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