Tumor Imaging

Hirohiko Onoyama and Yoichi Saitoh, The First Department of Surgery, Kobe University School of Medicine, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Japan

Masaaki Miyazawa, Department of Immunology, Kinki University School of Medicine, Osaka-Sayama, Osaka, Japan

Tumor imaging is a clinical and experimental medical technology designed to localize neoplastic lesions in a body using a labeled antibody or its fragment. The idea of localizing antitumor antibodies into human cancer originated in the 1890s with attempts to treat malignant diseases using antisera raised against human tumors in animals. These heterologous polyclonal antisera contained, by their nature, overwhelming amounts of antibodies reacting with species-specific tissue antigens, rather than those, if any, reacting with tumor-specific antigens. Thus, researchers in the earlier days tried to increase the specificity of their antitumor antisera by absorbing 'nonspecific reactivities' by incubation with normal human tissues. The problem of mixed specificity was overcome by the development of hybridoma technology that allowed continuous production of a homogeneous antibody reacting only with a single epitope. Production on a large scale, purification, enzymatic and genetic manipulation, and labeling of antibody molecules became easier after the introduction of hybridoma-derived monoclonal antibodies, and even further advances are currently taking place by the development of the phage display technique.

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