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ICH guidelines for stability testing of new drug substances and products

We have come a long way from the days of blood letting, trephination, and snake oil salesmen peddling cure-all tonics. The oversight and regulation of organizations such as the European Medicines Agency and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) have significantly improved the quality and safety of our medical and pharmaceutical products. Of course, our medical understanding has deepened dramatically, our science has become more sophisticated, and we have developed tools to perform large scale drug discovery and screening. With this deeper understanding of chemistry and drug development we have realized the importance of preserving the chemical molecules via proper storage conditions.

The ICH guidelines for stability lay out the requirements for identifying and maintaining drug efficacy by understanding the pathways of degradation. The International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) was founded in 1990. The European Commission, FDA from the USA, and the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW), which later became the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) in Japan are all founding members. Since that time, many other regulatory authorities from around the world have joined the ICH. The stated mission of the ICH is to “achieve greater harmonisation worldwide to ensure that safe, effective, and high quality medicines are developed and registered in the most resource-efficient manner.”

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Superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (SPION)-enhanced MRI imaging

Superparamagnetism is a type of magnetism that lies between that of a permanent magnet and a paramagnet. Recall that a permanent magnet is always magnetic at temperatures below its Curie Temperature even in zero applied magnetic field, whereas a paramagnet is not magnetic at zero applied field but can become magnetic when an external magnetic field is applied. The potential for a paramagnet to be induced to have magnetization is called magnetic susceptibility. A superparamagnet behaves similarly to a paramagnet. The “super” means that it has a higher magnetic susceptibility than a regular paramagnet when a magnetic field is applied. Superparamagnets are typically made of iron oxide or other ferrous materials, and they are extremely small, on the order of 10-100 nanometers.

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Protein expression and purification

Proteins are constantly being created by the cellular machinery of living organisms. This article will first summarize the process as it occurs in a natural organism, and then discuss how protein expression and purification occurs in a laboratory setting for the generation of recombinant proteins.

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Genomic DNA isolation

In bacteria there are two main types of DNA—genomic and plasmid. Plasmid DNA is unique to bacteria. Eukaryotic cells don't typically have plasmid DNA unless it was put there by transfection for experimental purposes. The most important goal when isolating nucleic acids is to obtain the highest purity genetic material possible. When isolating genomic DNA it is important to remove plasmid DNA and RNA from the sample. Similarly, sometimes an experiment calls for the isolation of plasmid DNA, and the selective removal of genomic DNA is necessary. Also, some commercial RNA isolation kits include gDNA eliminator spin columns to remove genomic DNA from the isolate. 

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Antigen and antibody

The concept of an antigen and antibody pair is central to modern medicine and biotechnology. These proteins match like a lock and key, with equisite specificity. The interactions are non-covalent, but have equilibrium constants ranging from 105 to 1012 M-1 Antibodies and antigens are proteins: polypeptide chains of amino acids. The IgG antibody is composed of four polypeptide chains, two heavy and two light, organized into a ‘Y’ shape. The base of the Y is called the Fc region, while the two tips are known as the Fab region.

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Multiplex immunoassays

Traditional immunoassays such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) are able to measure the presence or absence of only one analyte per reaction. Multiplex immunoassays measure dozens of different analytes in a single reaction. This is particularly beneficial for precious samples, and when only a small volume is collected for analysis. The multiplex immunoassay also saves working time since multiple assays can be completed simultaneously.

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Merck’s IVD workshop is back to Europe!!

After celebrating its IIVD seminars in Asia over the past few years MERCK has decided to organize this year’s event in Europe during the autumn season. This workshop will be held in Paris, on October 18th and 19th 2018.

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Immunoprecipitation protocol

Immunoprecipitation (IP) is a method used to purify target proteins from whole tissue or from cell culture. There are different types of IP: Single protein, Co-immunoprecipitation (co-ip), Chromatin immunoprecipitation(CHIP), RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP), and tagged protein immunoprecipitation.

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Immunoaffinity chromatography

Immunoaffinity chromatography is a method for separating target antibodies or antigens from a heterogenous solution. It is column-based, which means that the solution is flowed through a column and eluted at the other end. The column is pre-functionalized with the capture antibody or antigen. The target protein is adsorbed onto the resin-bound capture protein and is retained in the column while the remaining solution is eluted. The fraction containing the target protein is later eluted and purified.

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Purified Proteins for drug discovery

Modern drug discovery utilizes libraries of purified proteins. These proteins are screened by libraries of small molecule drug precursors. This combinatorial screening process greatly speeds up the identification of new drug molecules.

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