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The discovery that the animal body reacts to the introduction of certain kinds of substances by the formation of new antibodies with specific action is one of the most important events, not only in modern medicine, but in general biology as well. Substances that cause antibodies to form are called antigens. One outstanding characteristic of all the phenomena is that the antibody reacts with the antigen in question in each particular case in a more or less specific manner. One may say that each antigen gives rise to its own antibody; this antibody usually, however, has some effect also on substances related to the antigen concerned, and this side-effect is the more marked the closer the relationship. For the purpose of this general discussion it is sufficient to point out that whether substances other than proteins can cause antibody formation is not yet settled. Concerning the antigenic power of proteincontaining
ANTIGENS AND ANTIBODIES. JAMA. 1909;LII(7):563–564. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.02540330045006
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