Monoclonal Antibodies

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  • Created by: bethedoc
  • Created on: 17-08-12 12:02

Key Concepts:

  • Microorganisms have more than one type of antigen on their surface 
  • Therefore more than one type of B-cell is stimulated and produced.
  • The mix of B-cells produced is polyclonal and the antibodies are polyclonal antibodies
  • Monoclonal antibodies are produced from one type of B-cell in response to a single antigen
  • This means their action is more specific as they target only that antigen
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Key Facts:

The high specificity of monoclonal antibodies has sttracted researchers trying to find a way of targeting cancer cells and ways to kill them with toxic drugs without affecting any other cells


  • Produce antibody that will bind with an antigen found only on cancer cells
  • Couple a cytoxic agent (radioactive substance) to the antibody
  • Inject antibody/cytotoxin complex into patient and allow it to target the cancer cells and kill it
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  • Although a strong radioactive substance is needed, the small amount required ensure an effective procedure with few side effects
  • However unless the monoclonal antibody is a human protein, the human immune system will recognise the 'foreign' protein and produce an immune reaction to destroy it
  • The first monoclonal antibodies were produced by injecting the antigens into mice and then gathering and selecting the antibodies produced
  • Most research is currently underway to 'humanise' monoclonal antibodies to prevent their rejection by the body
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  • Explain Key Concepts
  • Recall and understand Key Facts
  • Discuss ethical issues assosiated with the production of monoclonal antibodies
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Tilly - Team GR


Really helpful revision cards. Thanks. Helped me to understand the topic much better.

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