In 1975, Georges Köhler and César Milstein published a seminal paper in the journal Nature on hybridoma technology, the first method for the production of monoclonal antibodies by immortalizing antibody-secreting B lymphocytes. Over the past forty years, monoclonal antibodies have been exploited in almost every branch of biomedical research. Today, antibodies are indispensable to better understand complex cellular regulation processes, as diagnostic tools in the clinic and for the therapy of cancer and inflammatory diseases.

One of the unresolved enigmas is how the immune system gradually adapts its immune repertoire to fend off invading pathogens, and how the immune system keeps cancer cells at bay. Many questions remain unanswered. In ‘News and Views’ we will keep you informed on important developments in biomedical research. Answers to these questions may help us develop better research tools.