WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today committed to testing the specificity of antibodies in its portfolio in accordance with the newly proposed conceptual pillars for antibody validation, which were published in Nature Methods. The pledge demonstrates the company’s support of the International Working Group on Antibody Validation’s (IWGAV) proposal, which addresses antibody specificity, functionality and reproducibility. The IWGAV, formed with support from Thermo Fisher in 2015, is an independent working group of international scientists with diverse research interests, and is the first initiative of its size and scope specifically designed to establish standards for antibody validation for both antibody producers and users.
New tools now available to the research community allow Thermo Fisher to further address the specificity of antibodies in addition to the robust validation already done across its portfolio. The company is well positioned to follow the guidelines and will leverage its leading platforms in mass spectrometry, CRISPR and siRNA in addition to biological treatments, epitope mapping and antibody sequencing as dictated by the protein target. Additionally, the company will identify antibodies that pass the new standards with an icon, or badge, on its website which indicates it passes specificity testing.
“Each year, approximately $800 million dollars of research funding is wasted globally as a result of poorly characterized antibodies1. As the world leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher is delighted to see the first proposals from the International Working Group for Antibody Validation,” said Peter Silvester, President, Biosciences at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We believe that these standards will help combat the current challenges faced by users of these critical biological tools. Our pledge to test our antibodies to the IWGAV standards demonstrates our commitment to science and our mission to provide antibodies that function with absolute specificity, enabling our customers to accelerate the work that will make our world healthier, cleaner and safer.”
“I'm very pleased to see that antibody providers are implementing the guidelines on their product portfolio,” said Dr. Mathias Uhlén, professor of microbiology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden and chair of the IWGAV. “It is important that we all contribute in the validation of antibodies in accordance with the IWGAV's conceptual pillars to improve the reproducibility of biomedical studies and reduce the amount of time and resources spent on inappropriate immunoreagents.”
Thermo Fisher collaborators weighed in on the importance of these standards and the commitment the company is making to the research community.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Whitsett, Kindervelt Professor of Pediatrics, Co-director of the Perinatal Institute and Chief, Section of Neonatology, Perinatal and Pulmonary Biology at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who uses ChIP-sequence analyses, co-immunoprecipitation, and western blotting analyses to identify the molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of severe lung diseases caused by mutations stated:
“Durable scientific discoveries rely on the use of highly specific antibodies whose functionalities are carefully defined, validated, and documented so their value is readily reproducible by researchers. As a research scientist, physician, and educator, I strongly endorse all initiatives to ensure the validity and availability of antibodies on which future discoveries depend.”
Dr. Stefan Schulz, Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University Hospital Jena in Germany, who uses antibodies to identify G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in fixed tissues commented:
“GPCRs are difficult targets, and information on different epitopes is often not very specific. This makes it difficult and time consuming to find the right antibody for each target and application. A higher level of validation and information on applications and epitopes would greatly facilitate GPCR research.”
Finally, Dr. Karol Bomsztyk, MD and Professor, Department of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology, at the University of Washington in Seattle, who develops antibody-based high throughput platforms and computational tools to advance the discovery of disease biomarkers for use in precision medicine said:
“Currently, antibodies are, by far, the best tools to study nuclear processes in health and disease. Validating these reagents is essential for biological research and clinical application. Using our high throughput technologies and a large library of validated antibodies, including dozens of Invitrogen Antibodies from Thermo Fisher, we can define normal and detrimental events along disease-related genes and open avenues to establish new types of disease biomarkers and treatments.”
More information regarding the IWGAV’s conceptual pillars for antibody validation can be found here.
About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of $17 billion and more than 50,000 employees in 50 countries. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity. Through our premier brands – Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services – we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive support. For more information, please visit www.thermofisher.com.
1Bradbury A, Plückthun A. Reproducibility: standardize antibodies used in research. Nature. 2015 Feb 5;518(7537):27-9.