CIE A Level Biology (9700) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

11.2.2 Making Monoclonal Antibodies

The Hybridoma Method

  • Monoclonal antibodies are artificially produced antibodies produced from a single B cell clone
  • The hybridoma method is a method used to make monoclonal antibodies (Mabs)
  • The method enables large quantities of identical antibodies to be produced
  • The hybridoma method solved the problem of having B cells that could divide by mitosis but not produce antibodies and plasma cells that could produce antibodies but not divide
  • This method was established in the 1970s
  • Monoclonal antibodies bind antigens, in the same way naturally produced antibodies do
  • They are produced by injecting mice with an antigen that stimulates the production of antibody-producing plasma cells
  • Isolated plasma cells from the mice are fused with immortal tumour cells, which result in hybridoma cells
  • These hybrid cells are grown in a selective growth medium and screened for the production of the desired antibody
  • They are then cultured to produce large numbers of monoclonal antibodies
  • Monoclonal antibodies have multiple applications to include diagnostics, treating disease, food safety testing and pregnancy testing

Exam Tip

Remember monoclonal antibodies are produced from a hybridoma cell – a cell formed by the fusion of plasma cells and tumour (cancer) cells, which divide continuously therefore producing large quantities of a wanted antibody.


Alistair graduated from Oxford University in 2014 with a degree in Biological Sciences. He has taught GCSE/IGCSE Biology, as well as Biology and Environmental Systems & Societies for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. While teaching in Oxford, Alistair completed his MA Education as Head of Department for Environmental Systems and Societies.

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