Applications of single-chain variable fragment antibodies in therapeutics and diagnostics

Biotechnol Adv. 2009 Jul-Aug;27(4):502-20. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 Apr 15.


Antibodies (Abs) are some of the most powerful tools in therapy and diagnostics and are currently one of the fastest growing classes of therapeutic molecules. Recombinant antibody (rAb) fragments are becoming popular therapeutic alternatives to full length monoclonal Abs since they are smaller, possess different properties that are advantageous in certain medical applications, can be produced more economically and are easily amendable to genetic manipulation. Single-chain variable fragment (scFv) Abs are one of the most popular rAb format as they have been engineered into larger, multivalent, bi-specific and conjugated forms for many clinical applications. This review will show the tremendous versatility and importance of scFv fragments as they provide the basic antigen binding unit for a multitude of engineered Abs for use as human therapeutics and diagnostics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Immunoglobulin Fragments* / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments* / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments* / therapeutic use
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region* / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region* / genetics
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use


  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Recombinant Proteins