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Other Commercial Uses of Antibodies

Other Commercial Uses of Antibodies

Other Commercial Uses of Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are also extremely useful in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of different medical illnesses and issues, such as cancer and blood clots.

Monoclonal antibodies have been developed to be used in medicine, and they have provided great advances both in diagnosing and treating different illnesses.

Which of these statements do you think is true?

Human cells do have antigens on their surface, but we don't produce antibodies to these antigens. The immune system only wants to attack foreign substances. Otherwise, your body would attack itself all the time!

What do we call a type of antibody that is made to target a specific substance?

Cancer cells have specific antigens on their surface. They are different to normal cell antigens. What do you think they are called?


In the lab, monoclonal antibodies can be made to target these tumour markers.

The antibodies only fit the shape of the tumour markers on the cancer cells. They don't fit the shape of the normal cells.


Anti-cancer drugs attach to the antibodies.

The anti-cancer drugs are then transported to the cancer cells, piggybacking on the antibodies.

The anti-cancer drug will stop cancer cells growing and dividing. Which of these are examples of anti-cancer drugs?

You can select multiple answers

So the antibodies are designed to only target cells with tumour markers. Which of these are benefits of monoclonal antibodies in cancer treatment?

You can select multiple answers

Other forms of cancer treatment that don't make use of monoclonal antibodies, for example radiotherapy, unfortunately harm healthy cells as well as cancer cells. That can cause many of the side effects we associate with cancer treatments, for example hair loss.

Monoclonal antibodies can also be used to highlight the location of blood clots. The antibodies can be linked to a dye that glows fluorescently. How do you think this helps to show the location of a blood clot?

Monoclonal antibodies can also attach to other substances, that we can then detect in the body if we use special cameras. What do you think this substance is?

To sum up


The human immune system produces antibodies, but antibodies only attack _____________ substances.


Anti-cancer drugs attach to monoclonal antibodies, that are designed to target specific antigens on cancer cell surfaces. What do we call these antigens?


Anti-cancer treatments, like drugs and radioactive substances, can specifically target cancer cells.

This means that we can use a smaller drug dose and the patient will experience fewer side effects.


We can also use monoclonal antibodies to detect substances in the body in other ways.

We can link antibodies to a fluorescent dye that we can then find using UV light. We can also link antibodies to a radioactive element and use special cameras to see where they go in the body.