An antigen is a substance that is capable of stimulating an immune response and activating white blood cells to produce antibodies. Antigens can be proteins or sugars that are located on the outer surfaces of cells. All cells have antigens including the ones inside the body, bacteria, and even viruses. The antibodies produced by the immune system are custom-fitted to the antigen that initially stimulated the immune response. The antibodies have an antigen recognition site (paratope) that has highly specific affinity for a region on the antigen called the epitope.
Nanobeads have applications ranging from basic science research to clinical imaging and targeted drug delivery. Nanobeads are composites of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are defined as being less than 100 nanometers in diameter while nanobeads are usually around 50 to 200 nanometers in diameter. There are also microbeads, but these are much larger and have diameters of at least 1000 nanometers, or 1 micrometer, which is close to the size of a cell. Animal cells range from 10 to 30 micrometers in diameter. The size of nanobeads is very important to their function; partly because they are so much smaller than a cell, which enables them to be used for cell labeling and isolation. In the case of magnetic nanobeads, the nanometer size imparts the paramagnetic property that is so valuable for biomagnetic separation, clinical imaging (contrast enhanced magnetic resonance (MRI)), and therapeutics such as magnetic hyperthermia for targeted tumor destruction.
As we have entered an age of personalized medicine, we have begun to understand that individual differences play a large role in disease expression and treatment options. This idea is also true of individual cells, the basic unit of life. Therefore, when studying disease phenotypes and developing new drugs, it is becoming increasingly important to study single cells instead of groups of cells. The technologies used for single cell isolation have started to improve and it is now possible to isolate single cells for analysis. Oftentimes, this analysis is referred to as cell omics because it covers a wide range of topics including genomics (DNA), transcriptomics (coding and non-coding RNA), proteomics (protein), and metabolomics (the complete set of small-molecule chemicals found within a biological sample). This is a lot of information to gather from such a small, but powerful structure, and it can become very valuable when studying diseases such as cancer, which generally arises from a mutation within a single cell.
Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) are cancerous cells that dissociate from a tumor and circulate throughout the bloodstream. Therefore, the detection of CTCs in the bloodstream is an indicator of cancer progression and an early sign of metastasis. CTCs are not hematopoetic in origin, and they do not express the cell surface marker CD45. However, they do express the surface antigen EpCAM, which is commonly expressed on epithelial cells. Immunomagnetic separation methods take advantage of these surface markers to isolate CTCs from centrifuged blood samples.
Regulation of the pharmaceutical development process is important to ensure that drug products are consistently safe and effective. There are written guidelines for pharmaceutical validation, which ensure that drug compounds are handled and tested properly. There are also separate guidelines for the bioanalytical methods used in the development and testing of new drug compounds. The goal is to standardize and improve the consistency of pharmaceutical studies and that data that are used for drug approval. Examples of analytical methods include ligand binding assays and chromatographic methods (liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry). Both the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and EMA (European Medicines Agency) regularly update their bioanalytical method validation guidelines, but their focuses are slightly different. The FDA outlines reporting guidelines in more detail, while the EMA focuses more closely on the conduction of experiments. The validation guidelines are unified under ICH (International Council for Harmonisation of Technical requirements for pharmaceuticals for human use).
Magnetic bead suspensions will eventually sediment and aggregate over time. If non-homogeneous biomagnetic separation conditions are used, studies show that the likelihood of irreversible aggregation occurring is very high. Unfortunately, when this happens, the consistency, quality and functionality of the lot are all compromised. There are several steps during the preparation of magnetic beads for diagnostic kits where irreversible aggregation can become a problem unless resuspension techniques are used that guarantee gentle disaggregation.
Antibodies are naturally produced by the adaptive immune system in response to invading pathogens. The antibodies are made by immune cells to specifically recognize protein markers called antigens located on the outer wall or membrane of the pathogenic organism. It is this exquisite antigenic specificity that makes the adaptive immune system so remarkable in its ability to fight off a wide variety of diseases. It is also this specificity that makes the antibody-antigen interaction an attractive tool for the development of biological assays for the detection of active infection and disease.
The objective of magnetic activated cell isolation or macs cell sorting is to enrich a specific cell type from a mixed population. The versatility and specificity of magnetic bead cell isolation is made possible by functionalized bead surfaces that specifically recognize a molecule or antigen(link) on the surface of a target cell. Magnetic beads are composed of a ferrous iron-oxide core surrounded by a polymer shell, or a magnetic ‘pigment’ embedded in a polymer matrix.
The BCA protein assay is used to quantify total protein in a biological sample. BCA stands for Bicinchoninic acid, which is the key reagent used to produce a colored product. The purple colored product is analyzed in reference to a standard curve in order to quantify protein concentration. It is important to measure protein concentration after performing a protein extraction or purification, and prior to any type of labeling procedure. The protein concentration after extraction or purification may provide information about a biochemical pathway or a disease state. All commercially available proteins are accompanied by a product information sheet that has the results of a protein quantification method. This is particular important in antibody validation. It is important to know the protein concentration prior to any labeling step so you can ensure that the stoichiometric ratio between label and protein is optimal for clean and efficient labeling. It is equally important to know how much protein you are working with when designing biosensors so that you can define limits of detection and instrument sensitivity.
What is process validation and why do we do process validation?
Good manufacturing practice is an essential part of the production of human drugs, veterinary drugs, biological and biotechnology products, and pharmaceutical ingredients. These commercial processes are subject to regulatory oversight and must ensure that every aspect of the production process is carefully scrutinized. The purpose of process validation is to collect data and scientifically analyze the production process from conception to large scale production. An updated process validation protocol is essential to ensuring product quality and consistency. Many laws have been established to mandate process validation in order to protect consumers, especially in the case of pharmaceutical products.
Process validation in the pharmaceutical industry takes the same form as process validation in all other industries, but the stakes are higher because the product is made for human consumption. Moreover, pharmaceuticals are made to alter the natural biochemical pathways in the human body, so these chemicals must be formulated correctly and consistently every time. Additionally, the products must be stored properly and shipped under climate-controlled conditions in order to ensure efficacy once reaching the consumer.