SPECIAL SECTION: MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES

ASCITES METHOD VS. IN VITRO METHODS: COST, EFFECTIVENESS, PAIN AND DISTRESS

Many researchers consider the mouse ascites method inexpensive, easy to use, and familiar. Other arguments offered in favor of the ascites method include: rapid production and high yields of concentrated MABs; minimal requirements for materials, labor, and technical expertise; and most hybridomas will grow in mice.

The principal argument against the ascites method is that the animals used in this form of MAB production are routinely subjected to chronic pain and distress. Furthermore, as research on in vitro methods has progressed, these newer methods have become increasingly less expensive, faster, and able to produce antibodies in higher concentrations than before. For many applications, they may be equal or superior to the ascites method. Today, many large laboratories around the world have switched entirely to in vitro production.

The readings that follow discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of the ascites method and in vitro techniques.

Behavioral, Clinical, and Physiological Analysis of Mice Used for Ascites Monoclonal Antibody Production. Norman C. Peterson. Comparative Medicine 50(5): 516-526, 2000.
(journal access restricted to AALAS members).

Production of monoclonal antibodies by the ascites method: Animal welfare implications. Coenrad Hendriksen. In: Proceedings of the Production of Monoclonal Antibodies Workshop. Aug. 1999. Edited by J. E. McArdle and C J. Lund. Alternatives Research and Development Foundation.

Consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of in vitro and ascites production of MAbs. John McArdle. In: Proceedings of the Production of Monoclonal Antibodies Workshop. Aug. 1999. Edited by J. E. McArdle and C. J. Lund. Alternatives Research and Development Foundation.

A comprehensive cost comparison of in vitro and ascites approaches to MAb production. Norman Peterson. In: Proceedings of the Production of Monoclonal Antibodies Workshop. Aug. 1999. Edited by J. E. McArdle and C J. Lund. Alternatives Research and Development Foundation.

Comments on scientific justifications offered to support the use of the ascites method to produce monoclonal antibodies. Uwe Marx. In: Proceedings of the Production of Monoclonal Antibodies Workshop. Aug. 1999. Edited by J. E. McArdle and C J. Lund. Alternatives Research and Development Foundation.

ILAR report on Monoclonal Antibody Production. A Report of the Committee on Methods of Producing Monoclonal Antibodies. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, National Research Council. 1999.
(PDF file)

A Call for a European Prohibition of Monoclonal Antibody
Production by the Ascites Procedure in Laboratory Animals. [abstract] Coenraad F.M. Hendricksen. ATLA 26, 523-540, 1998.

Alternatives to ascites production of monoclonal antibodies: The issues. John McArdle. In: CAAT Technical Report # 8: Alternatives in Monoclonal Antibody Production. Sept. 1997.

Practical Applications and Comparison of Ascites and In Vitro Methods for MAB Production. N.C. Peterson and J.E. Peavey. In: CAAT Technical Report # 8: Alternatives in Monoclonal Antibody Production. Sept. 1997.

The European Perspective. C. Hendricksen, J. Rozing, M. van der Kamp, and W. de Leeuw. In: CAAT Technical Report # 8: Alternatives in Monoclonal Antibody Production. Sept. 1997.

Animal alternatives, welfare and ethics [program only] L.F.M. van Zutphen and M. Balls, eds. 1997.

For additional sources, see the Ascites-Associated Pain and Distress segment of the UCCAA section on Readings and Resources on Monoclonal Antibodies.