For more than two decades, Abraham Karpas, MD, of Cambridge University in England, and colleagues worked to find a way to use human cells to produce monoclonal antibodies. These highly specific antibodies are produced by hybridomas (hybrid cells created by fusing an antibody-secreting B cell with a myeloma cell), which can grow indefinitely in culture, churning out only the antibody produced by the original B cell.
But the technology traditionally used to produce monoclonal antibodies uses mouse cells, which reduces their usefulness in humans. Now, however, Karpas and colleagues have succeeded in developing a line of human myeloma cells, making it possible to produce fully human hybridomas.
Stephenson J. Monoclonal Milestone. JAMA. 2001;285(10):1283. doi:10.1001/jama.285.10.1283-JWM10002-3-1