[Production of antibodies with the aid of genetic technology].
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During the past decade we have witnessed a rapid development of methods for the production of monoclonal antibodies with predefined specificity. These antibodies are now regularly being used both for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The first antibodies thus produced were mainly from cell lines generated by fusion of a mouse B lymphocyte with a given specificity with a mouse myeloma line. Efforts have lately been made also to make cell lines producing human antibodies either by immortalizing human cells or by "humanizing" mouse antibodies. The latter has recently been accomplished by genetic engineering. In these experiments the entire variable region of a mouse antibody or the hypervariable regions only (complementarity determining regions) have been grafted onto human constant region genes thus creating chimeric antibodies. Fragments of antibodies with retained binding properties have also been generated and some of these have been effectively produced in bacteria, allowing large scale production. Bifunctional antibodies have also been created with success and have been applied in different systems. The ease with which antibodies with desired specificities can now be designed and produced will form the beginning of a new era in immunology with a potential that we can not as yet foresee.
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