The development of monoclonal antibodies for the therapy of cancer

Roula A. Farah, Birgitta Clinchy, Larry Herrera, Ellen S. Vitetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) were first decribed by Kohler and Milstein in 1975. Not only did this discovery lead to a Nobel prize, but it created an enormous scientific field that has now become a multimillion dollar industry. Mabs made the transition from laboratory reagents to clinical diagnostics very quickly. However, their development as therapeutic agents was, as predicted, more costly and time-consuming. Indeed, clinicians and scientists were required to learn a new set of rules for using these large, immunogenic, targeted agents in humans. Nevertheless, in 1997 the first Mab was licensed in the U.S. and several others will soon follow. In this review, we discuss Mab-based strategies for the treatment of cancer. We compare native, fragmented, recombinant and chimeric antibodies, bispecific antibodies, immunoconjugates, and immunoliposomes. The rationale for their development, their advantages, their in vitro and in vivo performance, and their clinical usefulness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-356
Number of pages36
JournalCritical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • Cancer therapy
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Immunotherapy
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Recombinant antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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