Today, he starts of by answering the question:
What is the least work I can get away with but still have accuracy in antibody-based studies?
Dr. Rimm: In general, that depends on the application. Sometimes you can minimize your work by carefully scrutinizing the spec sheets that come with the antibodies. If the antibodies are validated in a very rigorous way, the spec sheets that come with the antibodies will share that information, including examples of progressively increased cell lines for either Western blots or immunohistochemistry or immunofluorescence or flow cytometry, whichever application you are looking to use the antibody in. So, the least work, I guess, is when the company does the most. You have to be the judge of that as you review their products, often in advance of purchase.To follow up, we asked:
Is there any hope that I can get someone else to do this work?
Dr. Rimm: There is hope that someone can do it for you and that is the vendors. The vendors may do it for you if they are interested in having high-quality antibodies and if they are concerned about antibody validation. Again, some vendors are more
concerned about this than others.
The other way is to hope for some sort of certification. There is a group called: “The Global Biological Standards Initiative” – GBSI. They have convened a committee of interested scientists from biotech, pharma and academia to try to set up standards by which antibodies should be validated in an application-specific manner. The hope is that ultimately this organization – or some other related organizations – might be able to certify antibodies. You could perhaps envision a day where you could buy only certified antibodies and when you purchase a certified antibody that was properly stored, you wouldn’t need to do any validation at all.
Those events are still in the future. It’s not clear when that will happen, but I think there is hope that at some point we may be able to have less burden of antibody validation on the laboratory and more burden of laboratory validation on the vendor.
Dr. Rimm will be presenting Use and Abuse of Antibodies in Research and the Clinic on Tuesday, December 9. For more information on this session and the rest of the program, download the agenda. As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us December 8-12, 2014, in Huntington Beach, California and mention code XD14172BLOGJP, you can save 20% off the standard rates.
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