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Rev Med Liege. 2009 May-Jun;64(5-6):244-7.

[International classification of various types of monoclonal antibodies].

[Article in French]

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Université de Liège, Service de Diabétologie, Nutrition et Maladies métaboliques et Unité de Pharmacologie clinique, CHU Liège, Belgique.


Significant advances in the development of monoclonal antibodies ("mabs") have been acknowledged during the last two decades. Successive developments led to the marketing of murine antibodies ("o-mab" first, followed by chimeric antibodies ("xi-mab"), humanised antibodies ("zu-mab") and, finally, human monoclonal antibodies ("u-mab"). In order to facilitate the distinction between the various monoclonal antibodies used in clinical practice, an international nomenclature has been proposed with the use of a specific suffix corresponding to the origine/source of "mabs" preceded by an infix referring to the medicine's target. The efforts in developing new types of monoclonal antibodies aimed at improving their pharmacokinetics (longer half-life), pharmacodynamics (better efficacy because of stronger affinity to human receptor), and safety profile (less antigenic and immunogenic reactions). These progresses could be obtained thanks to the remarkable development of molecular biotechnology.

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