Monoclonal antibodies are produced by antigen injection into the host animal to initiate a humoral immune response. In most procedures, spleen cells from these hosts are fused in vitro with cultured malignant myeloma cells. The cell clones that survive the fusion step are known as hydridomas. Hybridomas are immortal because of their myeloma characteristics and they are easily propagated in culture.
Because of their B cell properties, some hybridoma clones continue to synthesize and secrete a single, genetically homogeneous type of antibody, the monoclonal antibody. Monoclonals are therefore homologous to natural immunoglobulins from the injected animal, but they can be produced by hybridomas in vitro.
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