Whether you talk about basic biological research or clinical medicine, the production of antibodies plays an indispensable role. Antibodies are the body’s normal immune response, but they can also be powerful tools for diagnostic purposes. Their high specificity makes them an ideal tool for detecting and quantifying an array of targets, from drugs to serum proteins, and even microorganisms.
Due to this, experts today are working on harnessing antibodies, and many companies also offer services like antibody development and production. When it comes to antibodies, people tend to get confused between the process of development and production. They often use these terms interchangeably while their meaning is quite different.
If you are wondering what the meaning of development or production of antibodies is, and which is better, you can read on to learn everything.
What is an antibody?
An antibody, also called immunoglobulin, is a proactive protein that is produced by the immune system present in the body. It is a response of your immune system to an antigen or a foreign molecule that enters your body. The system identifies the antigen’s molecular structure and produces a specific antibody to bind to a particular antigen.
Your body produces antibodies, but for research and diagnosis, you can also explicitly develop them in a lab. The polyclonal antibodies get produced in live animals, such as rabbits or goats. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies require high affinity and specificity, so they get produced in vitro using a tissue culture technique. These commercial antibody development services help save both time and effort on big projects.
What is the development of antibodies?
Antibodies can be developed artificially by an intact mammalian immune system. Many farm animals are used to generate antibodies like dogs, sheep, goats, and even horses. It can even help you develop a custom antibody that is suitable for regimens and immunization and screening regimen.
The development of antibodies is an elaborate process that involves creating as well as characterizing an antibody. It consists of an antigen being injected into the host animal’s skin in many different areas. They are also given an adjuvant, which helps increase the immune response to enable more production of antibodies.
The animal is then left to recover, and the experts conduct appropriate tests to determine the level of antibody in the blood. Once there is a proper level of antibodies in the animal, they remove the blood using cardiac bleed.
The development procedure varies depending upon the type of antibody required. In the case of mouse monoclonal antibodies, spleen cells for hybridoma development are necessary, whereas single domain antibodies need the isolation of PBMCs. When it comes to polyclonal antibodies, they can be taken from the serum. The development process of antibodies can take up to weeks, and the time depends majorly on the host animal, the type of antibody developed, and how immunogenic the antigen is.
What is the production of antibodies?
Production of antibodies involves creating a system that allows creating a large amount of previously developed antibodies. The success of antibody production depends upon careful planning and implementation, and also includes a series of steps.
There is a unique production procedure used for every different antibody. They are :
1. Polyclonal antibody
Polyclonal antibodies need to be isolated directly from the serum using a column. It is why the production of polyclonal antibodies depends entirely on the amount of serum available. When a large number of polyclonal antibodies are needed, a larger animal like sheep or goat can be used.
2. Monoclonal antibody
The production of monoclonal antibodies can be performed in two ways, either in vitro or in vivo. When it comes to in vitro production, it is done by producing already developed hybridomas in a culture that facilitates the secretion of antibodies. In vivo production of antibodies involves injecting developed hybridomas in a mouse’s peritoneum. Here the hybridoma receives nutrients that help in faster proliferation and growth of antibodies at a quicker pace.
3. Single domain antibody
This method of antibody production comes with many variations across the industry. Many pioneers use phage displays to express the sdAbs in E. Coli. The bacteria are grown in culture, and the supernatant containing antibodies can be collected.
A few more steps are involved in the production of antibodies, called purification, characterization, fragmentation, and immobilization. You can go through some vital research papers to understand it a bit better.
Just like the words have a similar meaning, people often believe that the development and production of antibodies are identical producers. Antibodies get developed first and then produced if there is a need. In other words, the production of antibodies is just the extension of the development process. With increasing scientific and technological advancements, experts dive more in-depth into antibody research and come up with more innovative advancements in the healthcare field.