Navigation Links
The hitchhiker antigen: Cause for concern?

Since antibodies first attained prominence as research reagents in modern biological science labs, researchers have been perplexed as to why one production lot can differ significantly from the next, in terms of performance. Poor antibody performance has caused the loss of countless hours of research, to say nothing of the mental anguish of the researchers themselves. An antigen is a substance that stimulates the production of antibodies.

Now that antibodies are being widely exploited for clinical purposes, the problem of poor antibody performance goes beyond inconvenience to researchers and may threaten patients in a number of ways, including misdiagnosis of disease by pathologists using antibodies to characterize tissue biopsies; disposal of antibody production lots by manufacturers because of the apparent lack of potency; and misinterpretation of research results leading to incorrect conclusions about mechanisms of action for some diseases, which can be costly to pharmaceutical companies pursuing the wrong leads during drug development.

A new article just published in the journal Biochemistry and Cell Biology titled: "Hitchhiker antigens: Inconsistent ChIP results, questionable immunohistology data, and poor antibody performance may have a common factor" describes the problem. It claims that antibodies being manufactured today in large biological systems, whether it is a bioreactor filled with mammalian cells or a living organism, such as a rabbit or a goat, may often have a significant proportion of the lot "contaminated" with the very antigens they are designed to target. The antigens contaminating the antibodies can be thought of as "hitchhikers". This is only a problem if the antibody is designed to target a cellular protein or structure that is already present in the biological system in which it is being made, but such antibodies are increasingly common and are used for research and in medicine.

In this article, the author, Dr. Missag Parseghian, who develops clinical antibodies at Rubicon Biotechnology, introduces readers to a recent survey by the ENCODE consortium of commercial histone-targeting antibodies and how their data highlights the detrimental effects of hitchhiker antigens. His observations may have researchers thinking about the purity of the commercial antibodies sitting in their lab refrigerators. The problem, he says, may be prevalent in a wide array of research areas, not just the areas of chromatin, auto-immune and histone research highlighted here.

"I have been working with antibodies for over 25 years, both as a consumer who uses them in my research and as a scientist working for companies that manufacture them as therapeutics, and what has always struck me about antibodies is the variation in their performance from one lot to the next. Especially when working with antibodies generated from a small research lab and later from a commercial supplier," explained Dr. Parseghian. "Not that one or the other group produces a superior product, rather the same antibody produced by two different groups can show tremendous variation. Understanding and eliminating this variation is critical for successful development of antibody-based biologic agents as drugs."


Contact: Jenny Ryan
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)

Related biology news :

1. Making eye contact doesnt always help your cause
2. Cleveland Clinics 2013 Obesity Summit explores causes, prevention and treatment of obesity
3. Research team uncovers root cause of multiple myeloma relapse
4. Specific sugar molecule causes growth of cancer cells
5. Researchers uncover genetic cause of childhood leukemia
6. Stomach bacteria switch off human immune defences to cause disease
7. NIH scientists describe how anthrax toxins cause illness, death
8. Bacterial toxins cause deadly heart disease
9. Chanel, UCSBs corpse flower, blooms and causes a big stink
10. UT Southwestern researchers identify novel mechanism that helps stomach bug cause illness
11. CSI-style DNA fingerprinting tracks down cause of cancer spread
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)...   The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... capability in which consumers will be able to interact with ... via voice or text and receive relevant information about the ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can create ... relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology ... LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range of products ... ... ... 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA ... Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a ... STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis ... Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 ... single and multiple ascending dose studies designed to ... (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... (SC) either as a single dose (ranging from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 ... , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew ... escalating cost of cancer care is placing an ... result of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
Breaking Biology Technology: