Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are identical copies of a specific type of antibody.

Antibodies are extremely important as they are a type of protein.

Antibodies are produced by lymphocytes.

Pathogens have antigens on them - this makes them unique.

When a pathogen infects the body, the lymphocyte recognises the unique antigen on the pathogen and start attacking them by producing antibodies.

A mouse is injected with an antigen to produce monoclonal antibodies.

Uses of monoclonal antibodies

Pregnancy test kits use monoclonal antibodies. Pregnancy test kits have been designed to bind with a hormone called HCG.

HCG can be found only in the urine of a pregnant women. The stick will then change colour or show a pattern which will indicate pregnancy.

Cancer diagnosis and treatment

Antigens can be found on the surface of cancerous cells.

Monoclonal antibodies will bind to these antigens and clump them together, when they are injected in the body.

Monoclonal antibodies also encourage your immune system to attack the cancer cells directly. Monoclonal antibodies can treat cancer by carrying drugs that have been attached to them, to the tumour.

Other uses to diagnose infections

Monoclonal antibodies are used to diagnose infections, such as HIV and AIDS.

Some monoclonal antibodies are attached to dyesthat glow under UV light and this can make disease identification easier.

Advantages of using monoclonal antibodies

In monoclonal antibody drug cancer treatment, healthy cells are not damaged.

They can be used for many different purpose.

Disadvantages of using monoclonal antibodies

It is difficult to attach monoclonal antibodies to drugs.

Monoclonal antibodies creates some side-effects, including chills or fever, itchy rashes, nausea, wheezing, headaches and change in blood pressuredrug.

In chemotherapy and radiotherapy you inadvertently damage healthy cells as well as killing the cancer cells because of the high energy of the radiation.

Monoclonal antibodies are very expensive to produce.