The development of recombinant antibody therapeutics is a significant area of growth in the pharmaceutical industry with almost 50 approved monoclonal antibodies on the market in the US and Europe. Despite this growth, however, certain classes of important molecular targets have remained intractable to therapeutic antibodies due to complexity of the target molecules. These complex target molecules include G-protein-coupled receptors and ion channels which represent a large potential target class for therapeutic intervention with monoclonal antibodies. Although these targets have typically been addressed by small molecule approaches, the exquisite specificity of antibodies provides a significant opportunity to provide selective modulation of these target proteins. Given this opportunity, substantial effort has been applied to address the technical challenges of targeting these complex membrane proteins with monoclonal antibodies. In this review recent progress made in the strategies for discovery of functional monoclonal antibodies for these challenging membrane protein targets is addressed.

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