Monoclonal antibodies, proteins with the ability to bind to a specific molecular target, have found many uses in research, treatment and diagnosis.
In 1975, César Milstein (1927-2002) and Georges Köhler (1946-95) of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge devised a way to isolate and reproduce monoclonal antibodies - identical antibodies cloned from a single cell - in mice.
These pure antibodies could, for the first time, be manufactured in large quantities and to a pre-defined specification. Antibodies have a wide range of research and commercial applications, from treating cancer and transplant rejection to diagnosing pregnancy and AIDS.
The technique has sparked a billion-pound international biotechnology industry: monoclonal antibodies are the basis of a third of all biotech products in clinical development. For their discovery Milstein and Köhler won the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- East Anglia
- University of Cambridge
- Key Individuals
- Cesar Milstein, Georges Kohler,