In its short lifetime, monoclonal antibody (MAb) technology has experienced more ups and downs than a yo-yo. As this brilliant invention has evolved into a difficult technology, numerous suppliers have emerged to facilitate researchers' access to the new antibodies. Today, MAbs are partners in such cell-biology staples as fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, and affinity chromatography. Investigators use these antibodies to track cells as they communicate and interact, respond to various stresses, turn cancerous, and die.

But, just as antibodies are finding increasing utility in cell biology, a new Food and Drug Administration classification for those products with clinical utility may affect researchers' access to the important technology (see accompanying story).

Monoclonal History MAbs were born in 1975, when Georges Kohler and Cesar Milstein at the Medical Research Council Laboratories in Cambridge, England, fused two types of cells to form a hybridoma. Part antibody-secreting B cell, part myeloma cell, a hybridoma...

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