For more than a century, therapeutic antibodies held the promise of providing specific cures for a wide range of diseases. It was not till the monoclonal era that the difficulties with purity and reproducibility were surmounted. But many obstacles still remained, and it has been a complex process to identify the best specificities, optimise effector functions and avoid unwanted immunogenicity. The academic community made substantial contributions, but higher regulatory hurdles will make this less significant in the future. Optimal delivery to the site of action remains one of the most important issues to be addressed. Monoclonal antibodies are already a significant part of the pharmaceutical market but there is a considerable potential still to be tapped. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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