ICE Issue 9

24 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 9 · January 2023 · Tevet 5783 History of Chemistry Articles BobWeintraub was born in Brooklyn, New York andmade aliyah in 1975 to Beer Sheva, where he remained. He earned the PhD in Physical Chemistry from MIT and the Diploma in Library Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He held positions in scientific and technical librarianship in industry, hospital and academic institutions. He is now retired. He has an interest in the history of chemistry. Abstract: “It is not an exaggeration to describe César Milstein’s contribution to science and medicine as the most important immunological advance of the century. His discovery of the method to produce monoclonal antibodies reinvented the field of immunology. The ability to make monoclonal antibodies at will in the test tube and in unlimited quantities, to any sort of antigen—whether an interesting chemical, infectious microorganism, cancer or normal cells—opened numerous new and unforeseen avenues for research, many with medical implications” [A. Karpas, American Association of Immunologists]. Milstein was born and raised in Argentina. In 1964, he fled the political upheavals and rising antisemitism to the UK, where he spent almost his entire career. In 1975, Milstein together with his post-doc Georges J. F. Köhler discovered the technique to produce monoclonal antibodies. For this discovery, Milstein shared part of the 1980 Wolf Prize in Medicine and in 1984, he and Köhler shared part of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. biomedical research and allow precise diagnosis and treatment of disease. These cells are called hybridomas – from hybrid and -oma (meaning tumor) [2]; and since the antibodies obtained from hybridomas are produced by clones (meaning identical copy) derived from a single lymphocyte, they are called monoclonal antibodies. (The term hybridoma was coined by Leonard Herzenberg while on sabbatical in Milstein’s lab [3].) For work on monoclonal antibodies, Milstein shared part of the 1980 Wolf Prize in Medicine, delivered the 1982 Rabbi Shai Shacknai Memorial Prize Lectures in Immunology and Cancer Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Milstein and Köhler shared part of the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Milstein is regarded as the “Father of Modern Immunology,” see Figures 1–3 [4-7]. Introduction The hybridoma technique is a method for producing large numbers of identical antibodies from a single clone of cells or cell line, also called monoclonal antibodies. This represents the most important immunological advance of the last century. Scientists for a long time hoped that it would become possible to produce monoclonal antibodies with predetermined specificities. This dream became a reality in 1975 when César Milstein and his post-doc Georges J. F. Köhler described the hybridoma technique for production of monoclonal antibodies [1]. They immortalized antibodyproducing cells by fusing them with tumor cells. The method allows unlimited production of monoclonal antibodies with predetermined specificity. Monoclonal antibodies have opened up completely new fields for theoretical and applied César Milstein (1927-2002) and monoclonal antibodies: Father of modern Immunology Bob Weintraub POB 5979, Beersheva 8415901 Email: