In the point of fact, biotechnological tools and processes have evolved a great deal over the period of time. It was once thought that probably the biotechnological applications will stay restricted to cloning some animals or probably sorting out genes, but it has been widely recognized today that biotechnological tools and elements have made a considerable advancement in the area of human health as well where they have marked a number of worthy achievements. When it comes to human health, immunity strengthening has been a key area of concern for the biotechnology experts around the world. The introduction of monoclonal bodies, playing a major role in body's immunity system, has been a real milestone achieved in this regard. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that are artificially produced by many B cells that are actually clones of a single B cell. This makes monoclonal antibodies of a batch specific for the particular antigen that was complimentary to the receptors on the original B cell.
Normal B cells do not grow in culture medium; therefore, in order to clone them, normal B cells have to be fused with cancerous B cells that are capable of growing in culture. The fused cells are called Hybridomas. They grow in the culture medium, provided that correct nutrients in the right amount are added to it, and produce antibodies. Cancerous B cells are incapable of producing antibodies. This method of producing monoclonal antibodies is called Hybridoma method.
To produce monoclonal antibodies, the antigen against which the antibodies are needed is injected into a mouse. This elicits an immune response in the mouse and its body activates the relevant B cells to produce antibodies. These B cells are taken from the mouse and using polyethylene glycol, are fused with carcinogenic B cells. When the fusion is complete and hybridoma cells are successfully produced, they are separated and allowed to multiply and produce antibodies. To confirm that the right clones are made, these antibodies are tested with the antigen that was used to infect the mouse. The hybridoma cells that are producing antibodies that react with the antigens are the ones that are required. These cells are cultured in fermenters to allow them to divide and hence amplify the amount of antibodies produced. These antibodies are then purified and made available for use.
Monoclonal antibodies have many applications in the field of medicine. They can be used for diagnosis and testing as well. For example, monoclonal antibodies are being used in pregnancy testing kits. Pregnant women contain a chemical called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in their urine, which is a hormone produced by placenta. The presence of this hormone can be detected by monoclonal antibodies specific to it.
For the purpose of treatment, monoclonal antibodies can either be used alone, in which case they induce the body's natural immune system to fight the disease, or they can be combined with drugs to make them capable of killing the pathogens themselves.
It is possible to produce monoclonal antibodies specific for just about any kind of cell, all that is needed is a B cell with the required receptors. Thus, it is also possible to produce antibodies specific for tumor cells. Such monoclonal antibodies especially target tumor cells and do not harm any other cells of the body. This reduces the debilitating effects that conventional cancer treatments show by harming healthy cells in the process of killing malignant cells. Moreover, tumor cell specific monoclonal antibodies can be bound with cancer drugs to make the treatment more effective.
Based on the same principal, monoclonal antibodies can also be used in vaccines, for blood and tissue typing before transfusions and transplantation respectively, to locate tumors, to detect HIV, to differentiate between various types of leukemia, to identify different strains of pathogens, in imaging of internal organs of the by combining them with radioactive substances. Thus it can be confidently stated that the development of this particular concept has opened new vistas of success in the area of human health and improvement over the period of time. Although there is a great room for improvement, still the achievement has been remarkable and very productive in its nature and facilitating the human race a lot.
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