Monoclonal antibodies from human sources are being increasingly recognized as valuable options in many therapeutic areas. These antibodies can show exquisite specificity and high potency while maintaining a desirable safety profile, having been matured and tolerized within human patients. However, the discovery of these antibodies presents important challenges, since the B cells encoding therapeutic antibodies can be rare in a typical blood draw and are short-lived ex vivo. Furthermore, the unique pairing of VH and VL domains in each B cell contributes to specificity and function; therefore, maintaining antibody chain pairing presents a throughput limitation. This work will review the various approaches aimed at addressing these challenges with an eye to next-generation methods for high-throughput discovery from the human B-cell repertoire.
Keywords: Antibody therapeutics; High-throughput screening; Hybridoma; Microfluidics; Next-generation sequencing; Phage display.