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Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci. 1998 Sep;37(5):61-66.

Comparison of In Vitro Monoclonal Antibody Production Methods with an In Vivo Ascites Production Technique.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 36th Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Economic, technical, legislative, and ethical issues influence decisions concerning alternatives to the use of animals in biomedical research. Since the development of cell hybridoma technology, production of ascites in mice has been a popular technique for generating high concentrations of monoclonal antibodies. However, the availability of several in vitro methods that can be performed in most laboratories make these alternative methods of monoclonal antibody production an attractive option. To evaluate the practicality of the use of in vitro techniques, three tissue culture methods and a technique for production of ascites were compared on the basis of yield, material costs, and time requirements. Analysis of results revealed that the time and material costs to produce 100 mg of monoclonal antibody 7.16.4 by inducing ascites in irradiated mice was similar or slightly more than that for tissue culture in standard plastic flasks and hollow fiber cartridge bioreactors; however, tissue culture in gas permeable bags was slightly less expensive than these methods in terms of cost and time. When ascites production in irradiated mice was compared with tissue culture in plastic flasks or gas permeable bags for monoclonal antibody 225, the in vitro methods were approximately five times more expensive than the ascites production technique. Information reported here outlines factors that should be considered and evaluated when choosing a monoclonal antibody production method. Furthermore, these results documented that in vitro technology for the production of monoclonal antibodies can be adapted by most conventional laboratories to provide sufficient resources for the most commonly performed experimental protocols.


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