Since the first description of monoclonal antibody secreting cell lines in 1975, rodent monoclonal antibody technology has been rapidly and successfully applied to a wide variety of biological problems of both theoretical and practical importance. These hybridoma cells are used to produce mAbs, which are antibodies that will bind to only one specific target site on an antigen. Large quantities of mAbs are grown, either in cell cultures or in the peritoneum of mice, and harvested.
Monoclonal antibodies are currently used in diagnostic techniques, including pregnancy tests and drug assays, as well as in tests for detecting viral and bacterial infections and cancer. As the use of mAbs in health care increases, pharmacists will need to have a good understanding of the functions and applications of these agents.