This invention provides a method for identifying cells expressing a target single chain antibody (scFv) directed against a target antigen from a collection of cells that includes cells that do not express the target scFv, comprising the step of combining the collection of cells with an anti-idiotype directed to an antibody specific for the target antigen and detecting interaction, if any, of the anti-idiotype with the cells, wherein the occurrence of an interaction identifies the cell as one which expresses the target scFv. This invention also provides a method for making a single chain antibody (scFv) directed against an antigen, wherein the selection of clones is made based upon interaction of those clones with an appropriate anti-idiotype, and heretofore inaccessible scFv so made. This invention provides the above methods or any combination thereof. Finally, this invention provides various uses of these methods.
This application was supported in part by Department Of Energy Grant No. DE-FG-02-93ER61658, National Institute of Health Grant No. CA61017 and National Cancer Institute Grant No. NCICA 89936. Accordingly, the United States Government may have certain rights in this invention.