By John Leavitt, Ph.D. Nerac Analyst
Originally Published: July 21, 2014
When I saw an obit for Hilary Koprowski recently, I was surprised that it did not mention his benchmark work with “monoclonal antibodies” or “hybridomas.” Then I searched Google and found other pages that didn’t mention “monoclonal antibodies” or “hybridomas.” I found some websites that summarized his accomplishments emphasizing his role in development of the oral polio vaccine which stated almost as an after-thought “In the late 1970s he and his Wistar colleagues were granted the first monoclonal antibody patents which he used to co-found Centocor, one of the first biotechnology companies to commercialize monoclonal antibody diagnostics and therapeutics.”
The invention of monoclonal antibodies using the hybridoma technique was reduced to practice by César Milstein at the Medical Research Council (MRC in England) and colleagues Georges Köhler and Dane Niels Kaj Jerne in 1975 who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1984 for the discovery.
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