Because monoclonal antibodies can recognize and bind to specific groups of atoms such as tumour antigens, they have promise for use in vivo as carriers of radionuclides, drugs or other appended molecules for diagnosis and treatment of disease1-3. Attachment of metal ions to antibodies by means of bifunctional chelating agents can add the diverse nuclear, physical and chemical properties of the metallic elements to these specific binding proteins (ref. 4 and refs therein). With the ultimate aim of engineering probe-binding properties into the antibodies themselves, we have now prepared monoclonal antibodies against the EDTA chelate of indium. These antibodies show a remarkable preference for indium chelates; changing to another metal such as scandium or gallium can decrease the antibody-binding constant by more than three orders of magnitude. These antibodies also introduce a new degree of control over the biological distributions of chelated radionuclides, markedly altering their uptake in tumours and normal organs.
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