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Principles and applications of electrical cell fusion

Producing monoclonal antibodies

Traceable to G. Khler and C. Milstein [4], this method revolutionized the production of antibodies. Primary B lymphocytes, which produce a specific antibody, are fused with tumor cells.

The numerous fusion products are isolated and selected. These single cells are replicated as clones, which is why the term monoclonal is used.

The fusion products, described as hybridoma, stand out for two reasons: they secrete a specific antibody and they can be replicated in culture almost infinitely. This has enabled mass production of specific antibodies.

For these achievements, G. Khler, C. Milstein, and N. K. Jerne were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1984.


Cloning mammals


The famous case of Dolly, the cloned sheep [5], would not have been possible without cell fusion. The first step in mammalian cloning is the removal of the nucleus from an oocyte. This enucleated oocyte is then fused with a somatic cell (e.g. from connective tissue). This is carried out by using electrical cell fusion because it is the only method efficient enough to produce the desired result.

The fusion product is implanted into a surrogate mother and is then carried through the full gestation period.

Cloning mammals from embryonic cells was carried out as long ago as the late 1980s [6 -10] and aroused little public interest at the time.

Vaccination against cancer
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