Limerick, PA. August 9, 2018 – Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc. announced today that Dr. Carl Ascoli, Chief Science Officer at Rockland, and Dr. Birte Aggeler, Director of Antibody Development at Bio-Techne, composed a peer-reviewed article using their combined experience of more than 50 years. The review article was published online on August 9, 2018 and will be printed in the September 2018 issue by the journal BioTechniques. The review article, entitled “The Overlooked Benefits of Polyclonal Antibodies,” discusses the pros and cons of polyclonal, conventional monoclonal, and recombinant monoclonal antibodies, while presenting procedures for experimental design, the inclusion of relevant controls, and validation strategies for polyclonal antibodies.
Antibodies are critical reagents most often used by life science and translational medicine researchers and are transformative tools used to diagnose and treat disease. Many 21st century medical breakthroughs were successful in part to antibody technology. Yet antibodies, especially polyclonal antibodies, are caught in a firestorm of controversary concerning data reproducibility. Ascoli stated “by emphasizing the appropriate role polyclonal antibodies may play in conducting life science research, our efforts here should improve upon the use of antibodies, the collection of reproducible data, and the expansion of antibody-based technologies.”
Thoughtful antibody design and development allows for polyclonal antibodies to be used in many different applications, techniques, and instrumentation. Ascoli explained that “while some have called for polyclonal antibodies to be phased out of research entirely, we believe in using ‘the right tool for the job’ which includes using all forms of antibodies, polyclonal, conventional monclonal, and recombinant monoclonal, in the appropriate context and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.” When using polyclonal antibodies, it is particularly important to use appropriate positive and negative controls and to assure immunoassay-specific antibody validation on a lot-to-lot basis. This review article presents the value of polyclonal antibodies for research, discusses strategies to minimize their disadvantages, and suggests when other forms of antibodies are more appropriate.