Since the discovery of monoclonal antibodies (Köhler & Milstein, 1975) much attention has been devoted to the development of reagents which would be of use in the detection and treatment of diseases, such as cancer and graft-versus-host disease resulting from human bone marrow allografts. This means that such antibodies are and will increasingly be used either in patients (Mathieu , 1984) or that cells from patients will be exposed to such antibodies for cytotoxic separation procedures prior to replacement into patients (Waldmann , 1984). As most large-scale productions of monoclonal antibodies are carried out using ascites preparations induced in either mice or rats, a question which needs careful consideration is whether rodent viruses which contaminate many colonies of laboratory animals and may contaminate hybridomas, will be present in such therapeutically used materials and, if so, whether they constitute an additional pathological threat to the patients undergoing therapy.


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