Dr. Laura Bover
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Departments of Genomics Medicine & Immunology
An antibody is a large Y-shaped protein, called immunoglobulin, produced in the immune system by plasma/B cells in response to pathogens or to signals from pathologies such as cancer. However, in many occasions the body’s naturally produced antibodies are not effective to neutralize the harmful agent or recognize the cancer cells. In 1975 Drs. Kohler and Milstein, were Nobel laureate for the discovery of the methodology that created hybridomas: fusion of an antibody-secreting B cell with a myeloma cell generated an immortalized new entity, able to grow in vitro and produce large amounts of antibodies, that upon screening with a designed method, are selected for specificity against a particular target. Hybridomas secrete monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) because they are cultured in vitro from a single cell and recognize unique epitopes in the target molecule. Since their discovery MAbs became essential for biochemistry, molecular biology and medicine and are utilized for research, diagnosis and clinical therapy. The importance of MAbs in immunotherapy to advance the field of cancer biology and improve clinical outcomes has peaked in 2013, prompting Science magazine to name immunotherapy as its Breakthrough of the Year. The CCSG Monoclonal Antibodies Facility (MAF) at MDACC is actively participating in these developments and has generated MAbs for academic and private communities. MAF has developed anti-human MAbs that have been either licensed to Biotechnological Companies for in vitro applications, such as immunohistochemistry, or entered clinical trials. One of the last ones was acquired by GlaxoSmithKlein and entered clinical trial on July 2015.