News Reality

Flawed Antibodies Might Be Producing Faulty Research Results

Scientific research is only as good as the tools used to carry out the experiments. So with one of the most common scientific tools reportedly working consistently only 49 percent of the time, many scientists are concerned. The tool? Custom-built antibodies. Like the antibodies produced naturally by the immune system in response to an invader such as a bacterium or virus, customized antibodies bind to specific molecular targets. By measuring how well antibodies bind, scientists can determine whether a protein is present in a cell or tissue sample -- or how protein levels change in response to certain tests. This helps scientists understand how diseases develop as well as find new ways to treat or diagnose them. But only if antibodies work as advertised. "Antibodies need to be tested to ensure they are detecting the correct protein of interest and only that protein," Deborah Berry, Ph.D., a research assistant professor and co-director of the Histopathology and Tissue Shared Resource at Georgetown University, told Healthline. This "validation" can be done by the company that makes the antibody, by the researcher, or by a specialized laboratory like Berry's. How are antibodies flawed? Flawed antibodies come in many forms. An antibody may bind to proteins other than the intended target. Or to no protein at all. Experimental conditions -- like the solutions used -- can also affect how well an antibody works. Even the same type of antibody made in separate batches -- or from different companies -- can give different results. "As such, a 'result' with one antibody may be very different from a 'result' with another antibody, even when performed with the same samples under the same conditions," said Berry. Flawed antibodies can also create major headaches for scientists. In one case, highlighted in the journal Nature, researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, used an antibody from a commercial protein detection kit to create a test for pancreatic cancer. They eventually realized that the antibody didn't bind to their target protein. Instead, it stuck to another cancer protein. The result? Two years of hard work, thousands of patient samples, and $500,000 down the drain. One of the researchers told Nature that in a rush to move their research along, they had failed to make sure the antibody worked as promised. Scoring system for antibodies So if checking the quality of antibodies is so important to the integrity of scientific research, who should be making sure it happens? "In terms of validating, it is really up to both the producer/seller, and the end user, i.e. the individual researcher," Leonard Freedman, Ph.D., president of the nonprofit Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI), told Healthline in an email. But it's no big secret among the scientific community that some companies sell "crappy" antibodies. Which is why many scientists are pushing for better performing commercial antibodies. "Companies need to be held to higher standards to ensure poor quality antibodies do not make their way onto the market," said Berry. At a meeting last week in Asilomar, California, hosted by GBSI, more than 100 biomedical experts offered a possible solution to inferior antibodies -- create a scoring system that tells scientists how reliable a company's antibodies are. The scientists at the meeting -- along with industry and government representatives -- agreed on a strategy to create guidelines for validating research antibodies. These standards would shape the ratings system. Currently, no standardized and widely accepted guidelines for antibody validation exist. The attendees of the Asilomar meeting hope that better validation of antibodies will save research time and dollars. It will also improve reproducibility in research -- the ability of scientists to get the same results when they run an experiment again. Better training for scientists Also coming out of the meeting is a roadmap for how antibody companies would be certified and how scientists can be better trained to use antibodies. A survey last year by GBSI concluded that more than half of researchers were not trained on the importance of antibody validation. Younger scientists were even more likely to disregard this key step. So far, the antibody scoring system remains on the drawing board, but pressure from the right corners could help move it forward. "In terms of implementation or compliance of the standards, the funders, journals, and even the host institutions should play critical roles," said Freedman. Berry said this might mean requiring "the scientist to demonstrate -- either through distributing company documentation or in-lab testing -- that the antibody used in the experiment appropriately detects the protein of interest." Major medical journals and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have already taken steps to address the "reproducibility problem." Poor antibodies, though, are just one piece of this. And validating and scoring the millions of antibodies sold by dozens of companies would not be easy -- or cheap. "It is expensive to take every antibody through full validation, and the company would need to convey that cost to the customer," said Berry. "The cost of validation raises the cost of the antibodies and reduces a company's ability to compete for customers." By Shawn Radcliffe The original article was published on

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Read Full Article On
Steven Reinberg Treatment for depression and anxiety is nearly twice as common among U.S. cancer survivors as it is for those who never had the disease, a new study finds.
A new tool may help doctors determine a patient's chances of survival after a gunshot wound or other penetrating injury to the brain, researchers report.
When Canadian mothers head to the park with their kids they will look different than their counterparts a few decades ago.
There is a "state of unease" in the UK medical profession that risks affecting patients, the GMC warns.
Maria Shahid has a rare genetic disease has left her frail body wracked with pain and stunted her growth. Soon she will be unable to walk as her vertebrae are compressing her spinal cord.
OSLO (Reuters) - Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 percent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, the WWF conservation
Every child should be screened for an inherited form of heart disease when they have their routine jabs, experts suggest.
If anyone would have told me in my 20's that I'd be writing about living with multiple chronic illnesses in my 40's I would have laughed. I've been experiencing various symptoms since the age of 10,
Therapists and patients said the 2016 election has been a regular topic of discussion in therapy this year.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre said the research could one day be used to help women who were most at risk of severe labour pain.
People who experience hearing loss can feel isolated and alone. It is important that the hearing public understand how to interact with deaf people and those who are hard of hearing. It is not diffic
EXPLICIT CONTENT: A Reddit thread asks what people wish they'd been taught about sex. Popular answers covered having sex for pleasure and birth control.
University of Helsinki researchers tracked more than one million men from adolescence until their 60s and found high blood pressure at 18 was linked to mental illness years later.
Persistent bullying when young is also linked to relationships breaking down and low employment, researchers from the London School of Economics and King's College London found.
It was Dr. Emily Whitgob’s first year in a supervising role at Stanford Hospital when she first encountered discrimination from a patient. The father of a pediatric patient took one look at her
Permanent mental health resources are still absent from Attawapiskat, Ont., six months after the remote James Bay reserve's chief and council declare
Researchers at the American Chemical Society have spent months examining the nutritional benefits of insects. They found grasshoppers and crickets are a far better source of iron than beef.
Just like everyone else out there, I'm always looking for ways to optimize. Optimize my work, my pleasure, my health. There's a ton of advice out there about how to be more productive at work, how a n
Thirty members of FORBES list of China's 400 Richest made their fortunes in the healthcare business -- all but one of them in pharmaceuticals.
When I was growing up, I just gave in to the idea that I was a "worrier." I thought it was normal to worry about anything and everything, and occasionally to worry about nothing. When the feelings of
The University of Cambridge created a lithium-sulfur battery with structures (pictured) like the finger-like projections that line the intestines in order to hinder battery degradation.
After a year of clinical trials - which are ongoing - researchers at the National Institutes of Health say the results are astonishingly positive, particularly in children under 12 years old.
Privately held drugmaker Kaleo Inc announced on Wednesday plans for a U.S. relaunch of its Auvi-Q injector in early 2017. It comes amid outrage over a 600 per cent price hike for Mylan's EpiPens.
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commerci
(Reuters Health) - Elderly people forced out of their homes and separated from their neighbors after a natural disaster may be more prone to dementia than survivors who are able to remain in their hom
(Reuters Health) - Children exposed to a common type of antidepressant in the womb may be at an increased risk of complications soon after birth and years later, according to two new studies.
(Reuters Health) - People who live through a bout with cancer are more likely to use medication for anxiety and depression than those without a history of malignancies, a U.S. study suggests.
Inuit people in Labrador say a hydroelectric project could poison their food if the government doesn't take steps to reduce the production of a deadl
HealthDay News Direct stimulation of the nervous system produced realistic sensations of touch in two arm amputees, researchers report.
Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay News Women who obtain good pain relief during labor may have to worry less about postpartum depression later, new research suggests.
Gaetan Dugas, a French-Canadian gay man, was posthumously labelled 'Patient Zero' by an unsympathetic media and accused of being responsible for the spread of HIV across the US.
Ryan MaassWASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Researchers say obesity can be treated by using a natural compound in mulberries that activates brown fat.
Ryan MaassCHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- A study led by researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina identified genetic alterations that may be responsible for the development of auti

Recent News

Two strong aftershocks spark panic in Italy

Two strong aftershocks hit central Italy, destroying churches and homes and knocking out power, just two months after a powerful earthquake killed nearly 300 people.
Read Full Article

New findings reveal a 'state of unease' in the medical profession

However, the NHS was still found to provide some of the best healthcare in the world.
Read Full Article


MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) - Juan Mata’s second-half strike earned Manchester United a 1-0 win over holders Manchester City yesterday as Jose Mourinho’s resurgent side reached the En
Read Full Article

Gabriel achieves career-best ranking after Abu Dhabi heroics

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) — West Indies speedster Shannon Gabriel has achieved a career-high in the ICC Test player rankings following his impressive outing in the second Test against Pa
Read Full Article

Veteran King dropped; Selman, Knight return for India tour

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – Batsman Stacy-Ann King has paid the price for a run of poor form and has been dropped from the West Indies Women’s squad for next month’s tour of Ind
Read Full Article

Wolmer’s thrash Kingdom Kids 36-0 in Prep school netball

DEFENDING champions Wolmer’s began the defence of their title by scoring a crushing 36-0 win over newcomers Kingdom Kids as the 2016 Jamaica Independent Schools’ Association (JISA)/Tastee
Read Full Article

West heads north on Special Winter Games mission

Glendon West, the Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) head of delegation to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, left the island yesterday for Graz, Austria, to attend heads of delegation meetings
Read Full Article

Cornwall, Rusea’s showdown Saturday

CATHERINE HALL, St James — Former national football champions and long-time rivals Cornwall College and Rusea’s High will meet head-on to earn a semi-final spot in the lucrative FLOW Supe
Read Full Article

FLOW Super Cup scorers 2016

Three goals
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

UPDATE 1-Deutsche Bank posts Q3 profit, hikes legal provisions

* Gives no information on expected timing of settlement (Adds details on business segments, share price indication)
Read Full Article

Sri Lankan rupee weaker; moral suasion caps fall

COLOMBO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The Sri Lankan rupee traded weaker on Thursday on importer demand for the U.S. currency with moral suasion by the central bank preventing a fall in both the spot currency a
Read Full Article

BRIEF-Aves One implements capital increase, subscription price at EUR 6.00/shr

* Said on Wednesday implemented capital increase against cash contributions from Sept. 5, 2016
Read Full Article

BRIEF-Henderson says Q3 assets under management up 6 pct

* Says assets under management at end-September up 6 percent to 100.9 billion pounds.
Read Full Article

BRIEF-GE enhances tender offer for Arcam AB

* Arcam board of directors continues to unanimously recommend that Arcam's shareholders accept GE's offer Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Bengaluru Newsroom)
Read Full Article

BRIEF-Relx 9 months underlying revenue growth +4 pct; reaffirms FY outlook

* Underlying revenue growth +4 pct in first nine months of 2016
Read Full Article

BRIEF-GE raises bid for Arcam to 300 SEK/share

* GE Aviation increases the offer price and lowers the minimum acceptance condition in its recommended public cash offer to the shareholders of arcam
Read Full Article

Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund opens Hong Kong office

ABU DHABI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world's richest sovereign wealth funds, said on Thursday it would open an office in Hong Kong to pursue more opportuniti
Read Full Article

BRIEF-Relx reiterates outlook after maintaining 4 pct growth rate

* Underlying revenue growth +4 percent in first nine months of 2016
Read Full Article