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The evolution of therapeutic antibodies 

The evolution of therapeutic antibodies
The evolution of therapeutic antibodies

Herman Waldmann

, and Greg Winter

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date: 07 March 2021

The development of rodent monoclonal antibodies opened the door to the creation of antibodies specific to soluble and cell-surface antigens. ‘Humanized’ therapeutic antibodies have emerged as major blockbuster drugs for the treatment of cancer, immune, and inflammatory disorders—the so-called biologics. Much of this revolution was spearheaded in Cambridge, England, initiated by the research of Cesar Milstein and George Köhler at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and who, with N.K. Jerne, shared the 1984 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology. As related in this personal perspective, Cambridge scientists and clinicians took up the challenge to develop the original murine antibodies into powerful pharmaceuticals that can be administered repeatedly without the dire consequences of alloimmunization. In this short chapter, two scientists who made seminal contributions to this field and remain actively engaged in its development give a personal account of how these remarkable developments came about.

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