Antibodies: Research Workhorse and Reproducibility Culprit

Antibodies are indispensable biological reagents, yet are a major contributor to the current reproducibility crisis in preclinical research. A variety of issues – from production variations and storage conditions to improper validation techniques—can jeopardize even the best-designed biomedical experiments. Research antibodies must demonstrate specificity, selectivity, and reproducibility in the application or assay for which they are used. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to ensure this happens in every experiment across all labs.

In order to accelerate the successful translation of bench-side research breakthroughs into approved diagnostics and therapies, standards and best practices must be established around the development, commercial availability, and widespread use of assay-specific validated antibodies in biomedical research.

Antibody Validation Survey

We are excited to announce that on June 30, GBSI’s survey on antibody validation practices will be published in BioTechniques. Once published, we will also provide background data on the questions and answers from the survey. Highlights include technique proficiency by experience, and frequency of validation for purchased versus user-created antibodies.

Over 500 researchers participated in GBSI comprehensive antibody validation survey which was completed in the fall, 2015.  GBSI worked with an independent survey research firm, McKinley Advisors, to oversee the process and analyze the results.

Crowdsourcing Validation Standards

GBSI has launched our antibody validation online discussions. These discussions are designed to engage with the scientific community to build consensus for research antibody validation approaches – truly the first of its kind crowd-sourced consensus standards. The community consensus recommendations from these online discussion groups will inform the Antibody Validation: Standards, Policies, and Practices workshop to take place in September 2016.

Workshop – Antibody Validation: Standards, Policies, and Practices

September 25 – 27, 2016
Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA

This Workshop will result in the establishment of antibody validation process standards, proficiency testing, and user rating services. It will pull together key stakeholders from academia, industry, production, funders, and journals to share perspectives and contribute to solutions. This workshop is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending, please contact kpoole@gbsi.org.

Early Work

In 2014, GBSI established an Antibodies Task Force, comprised of volunteer experts whose charge was to make recommendation advance the quality, reproducibility, and translation of antibodies used in basic and preclinical research and development.

The Task Force members recommended that GBSI develop and field a survey to gather valuable information about how researchers view best practices regarding the use of antibodies in preclinical research and to identify challenges and opportunities to implementing those practices going forward. Members of the Task Force provided valuable input in the design of the research antibodies survey questions.

Members of the 2014-15 Antibodies Task Force

Andrew Bradbury, PhD
Group Leader and Scientist, Biosciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Arthur Buchberg, PhD
Senior Associate Editor, Cancer Research, Associate Director, Scientific Content Development, American Association for Cancer Research

Darryl Davis, PhD
Associate Director, Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson

Marisa Dolled-Filhart, PhD
Associate Director, Pathology and Companion Diagnostics, Merck & Co. Inc.

George Georgiou, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas

Ruud Hulspas, PhD
Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Cytonome

Elizabeth Iorns, PhD
Co-Founder and CEO, Science Exchange

Fridtjof Lund-Johansen, PhD
Department of Immunology, Oslo University Hospital

Anne-Marie Martin, PhD
VP, Head of Biomarker Research & Development, Adaptimmune

Karen Phinney, PhD
Group Leader, Biomolecular Measurement Division, Bioanalytical Science Group, NIST

David Rimm, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine

Max Vasquez, PhD
Vice President, Adimab LLC