Wolf Prize Laureate in Medicine 1980
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Medical Research Council, United Kingdom
“for their contributions to knowledge of the function and disfunction of the body cells through their studies on the immunological role of the lymphocytes, the development of specific antibodies and the elucidation of mechanisms governing the control and differentiation of normal and cancer cells”.
Dr. César Milstein is one of the few immunologists who have outstanding contributions in three major areas of immunology: nucleic acids (antibody genes), proteins (immunoglobulins) and cells (lymphocytes). By fusing myeloma cells to antigen stimulated mouse lymphocytes he was able to generate continuous cell lines secreting the antibody of choice with the specificity of choice.
This discovery is an important contribution to specific serology. The technique of generating continuously growing hybrid cell lines that secrete monoclonal antibodies of defined specificity has an impact on basic research in immunology in particular and in molecular biology in general, and on clinical research.