@Biologists, Timeline and Childhood
Georges J. F. Kohler born at
Georges J. F. Kohler’s married Claudia Kohler, a biologist, and the couple was blessed with three children.
Kohler died of heart failure on March 1, 1995, in Freiburg, Germany, at the age of 48.
Georges Jean Franz Köhler was born on April 17, 1946, in Munich, Germany.
Upon completing his preliminary education, he enrolled at the University of Freiburg from where he graduated in the year 1971. Immediately following his graduation, Kohler applied for a PhD degree in biology which he received in 1974.
After completing his honorary doctorate degree, Kohler received a two year postdoctoral fellowship at Milstein's lab at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England.
Starting from 1974, Kohler worked under Cesar Milstein for two years. In 1974, the duo made the revolutionary discovery of monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies started a new chapter in the history of immunology and immunogenetics, as they were pure, uniform and highly sensitive protein molecule used for diagnosing and combating various types of diseases.
Kohler realized that the body’s immune system secreted various types of antibodies, whose function was to attach themselves to antigens. However, the antibodies formed from the procedure were never pure and identical. He anticipated that if he could find a way to clone lymphocytes and later subdivide them indefinitely in culture medium, the result would be identical. He fused lymphocytes with the cells of a myeloma and later made them to reproduce indefinitely. The hybrid cells thus formed produced a single species of antibody. Thus, he successfully created a powerful general method for raising pure antibodies against any antigen of interest.
Kohler and Milstein published a paper on the discovery of monoclonal antibodies in 1975 thus proclaiming to the world the emergence of pure, uniform and highly sensitive protein molecules. The development of monoclonal antibodies revolutionized many diagnostic procedures and led to new therapeutic agents for fighting disease.
In 1976, Kohler moved to Switzerland where he continued his research in monoclonal antibodies at the Basel Institute for Immunology. In his nine years of tenure at the Basel Institute, he refined his method of producing monoclonal antibodies, though he was not interested in producing them commercially. He stepped further by identifying myelomas that allowed the production of antibody clones originating from only the spleen cell with which it was fused.
Georges J. F. Kohler is known for his discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies. Together with Cesar Milstein, he successfully invented a method of forcing immune system cells to make pure antibodies against a chosen antigen, instead of the profusion of different agents that usually greet an invading virus or bacterium. The development of monoclonal antibodies was revolutionary in the scientific world as they transformed many diagnostic procedures and led to the development of new therapeutic agents for fighting diseases.