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Med Sci (Paris). 2019 Dec;35(12):926-936. doi: 10.1051/medsci/2019222. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

[MAbs: the history of a basic research or the curiosity as a source of wealth].

[Article in French; Abstract available in French from the publisher]

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Sorbonne Université, Inserm U1135, CNRS ERL8255, Centre d'Immunologie et des Maladies Infectieuses (CIMI), 91 boulevard de l'hôpital, 75013 Paris, France.


in English, French

In 2019, monoclonal antibodies are a worldwide annual business worth of more than 100 billions USD (i.e., about 90 billions €). In addition to their use in the clinics, monoclonal antibodies are also used for diagnosis and remain highly valuable tools for academic basic and translational research. Forty-four years after the seminal publication of Georges Köhler and César Milstein, dozens of meetings and seminars focusing on various aspects of mAbs are held annually all around the world. But forty-four years later, the scientific works and efforts that have made possible this scientific breakthrough are gradually forgotten and, for many, monoclonal antibodies are no more than a multi-million USD business alike any other big business, guided by financial markets and the results of on-going clinical trials… Time has now come for acknowledging and paying tribute to all these scientists involved in basic research, to these researchers passionate about science, some famous, some forgotten, scattered all over the world. They explored during the 20th century the frontiers of unknown and generated a knowledge that allowed the emergence of a technique that translated finally into what is one of the greatest therapeutic revolution of the modern era.


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