Since the advent of hybridoma technology 35 years ago, research on monoclonal antibodies has developed enormously. Monoclonal antibodies of mouse origin were the first to be produced and continue to be the most popular affinity reagents for investigating the proteome of all organisms. For their adaptability to a variety of biological assays monoclonal antibodies are key tools for basic research as well as for diagnosis and therapy of human diseases. Recently, the expanding demand of high-quality antibodies with better specificities has resulted in a significant improvement in traditional hybridoma production methods. Owing to the ability of these affinity reagents to selectively target tumour cells, cancer has been a major focus of programmes for monoclonal antibody development. This review focuses on patents related to the advances made in the monoclonal antibody manufacture, showing how the traditional production techniques were turned into alternative, faster and more effective methods. Other patents are focussed on new technologies in which monoclonal antibodies are employed for the development of high-performance screening assays. A conclusive series of patents is related to monoclonal antibodies which find application to the diagnosis and the treatment of specific cancer diseases such as haematological malignancies and solid tumours.
Keywords: Cancer, diagnosis, hybridoma technology, immunoconjugate, microarray, monoclonal antibody, genetic immunisation, reverse phase microarray, Haematological malignancies, Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia
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