top of page

Therapeutic antibodies

By Dillon Lim - Medicine Student @ Brasenose College, Oxford


Antibodies are proteins produced by B cells that mediate several important functions: the neutralisation of pathogens or toxins, opsonisation (encouraging engulfment of pathogens etc. by phagocytes) and acting as a focus to trigger other immune responses. For decades now, we have been able to produce monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) by fusing a clonally selected B cell (one that has been exposed to an antigen and is now producing specific antibodies against it) with a tumour cell. The resultant hybridoma retains both the antibody specificity of the B cell as well as the near-immortality of the tumour cell, which gives it the ability to churn out large quantities of antibodies for the body to use.