As we begin the 14th year of our collaboration with NeuroMab, Antibodies Incorporated wishes to acknowledge the diligent efforts that, under the leadership of Jim Trimmer and Belvin Gong, have brought nearly 500 high-quality, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) into the neuroscience community. It is also important to revisit Antibodies Incorporated’s commitment to the same aspects of production and distribution for those high-quality antibodies in the commercial world.
The problem addressed: that for so many years, and not just in neuroscience, antibodies commonly give inaccurate and irreproducible results, either because of poor development and lack of validation by producers or because of the lack of end-user proficiency in antibody-based assays.
The premise: “High quality and well-characterized polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies provide enormous benefits to neuroscience research due to their wide availability, familiarity, and ease of use, such that the same Abs can be used globally across many independent labs.”
These words express the reason behind NeuroMab's mission to generate and validate in mammalian brain high quality Abs for the neuroscience community.
The solution: create monoclonal antibodies in mice bearing the end user’s needs in mind:
1). Immunize with whole proteins, protein fragments or at least peptides that most closely resemble the native states of the targets.
2). Assay as many of the resulting clones as possible on the target immunogen, keeping as many clones as possible because many times those less than "boomer" status are the right antibodies for the job.
3). Use assays that reflect end user needs as much as possible.
4). Validate selected clones in IHC or similar assays that reflect end user needs.
To this, we at Antibodies add the following: scale up, purify and quality control the antibodies under cGMP conditions so that the end user is assured that the antibodies represent the ideal “high quality and well-characterized antibodies.”
This article has a lot to offer for those scientists who use antibodies. The philosophy sounds great, but the practice is not so easy. Still, the current requirement of many publishers is that the antibodies are either validated and the data shows it OR that they are from trusted sources, have a RRID and are distributed by qualified companies. (More about RRIDs to come in next blog post.)