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What are monoclonal antibodies?

Find out how monoclonal antibodies may be used to treat cancer.

Monoclonal antibodies are designed to attack a specific antigen. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Monoclonal antibodies are designed to attack a specific antigen.

Monoclonal antibodies are artificially produced antibodies designed to neutralize a specific foreign protein (antigen). Cloned cells (genetically identical) are stimulated to produce antibodies to the target antigen.

Most monoclonal antibody work has used cloned cells from mice infected with cancer. In some cases they are used to destroy cancer cells directly; in others they carry other drugs to combat the cancer cells.

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