What can you tell us about ”monoclonal antibodies,” a recent discovery in the fight against infectious diseases?
Antibodies are molecules produced by a type of white blood cell (the plasma cell), which play a key role in the immune response. Substances that are foreign to the body (anything from viruses to wood splinters) are tagged by antibodies and then destroyed by cells that recognize the tag.
The distinctive characteristic of monoclonal antibodies is that a large number of a specific type of antibody, namely one aimed against a single, specific element of a foreign substance, can be produced in the laboratory. The technique for making monoclonal antibodies was introduced in 1975. Since then, monoclonal antibodies have become an integral part of medical techniques.
In other laboratories, however, experiments are being conducted on the therapeutic possibilities of monoclonal antibodies. Researchers have considered linking an antibiotic to an antibody aimed at Pseudomonas, so that the antibiotic could target the bacteria more directly and effectively. More recent research has involved developing a vaccine containing monoclonal antibodies that would be effective against Pseudomonas.