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Common trust in commercial antibodies

There are many reasons for a commercial antibody to fail in the lab after purchase and first use.  Many scientists get confused when a single reason of failure cannot be identified. Everest Biotech has published an article to make an inventory of all the pitfalls (see http://everestbiotech.com/commercial-antibodies-and-their-validation/).

This unbiased paper is for all scientists and vendors who depend on consistent performance of commercial antibodies. Once all complexities are appreciated, it will become easier to put trust in the antibodies on the market. The key is to make sure the antibody on sale is likely to be fit-for-purpose by judgement of the product sheet. A selection of antibodies will have to be tested while buying the same antibody from different catalogues is avoided. Each antibody may work in one assay type and may not work in other assay types. It is important to appreciate the different types of polyclonal antibodies and their formulations, and it is equally important to understand the limitations of monoclonal antibodies and their formulations on offer.

The objective of this paper is to create a deeper understanding of the antibody market and for what reasons antibodies can fail to perform according to expectations. It is not always the integrity of the antibody to blame.  This paper became part of a new collection of peer-reviewed articles on antibody validation (http://f1000research.com/article-collections/antibody-validation).

In addition, an important event took place in London on antibody validation: upon an initiative between CiteAb, St. John’s Laboratory and the publisher F100Research, the first international meeting on antibody validation (see http://www.stjohnslabs.com/ac_cms/blog).  The presentations given by high-profile scientists from both academic and industrial environments hlighted the importance of integrity of commercial antibodies to the progress of the biomedical science. This progress can be hampered considerably when purchased antibodies are considered valuable without having them assessed and confirmed in the own lab first.