Of course, as in most industries, product consistency is key to the success of the Life Sciences industry. With magnetic bead separation, not only should working conditions be constant over time, but conditions should also be consistent from lot to lot, regardless of the time between production runs. One thing that should always be considered is the quality of the magnet used in the biomagnetic separation devices.
Those who use Life Sciences products rightly demand that these products show consistency from batch to batch. In other words, when comparing batches, one should find very little, if any, variability.
One of the major problems of traditional magnetic bead separation technology is aggregation of the magnetic beads. Aggregation decreases the yield and also contributes to variability between batches.
Reproducibility is very important when considering production of in vitro diagnostic kits. As such, there should be good quality control in place that strictly defines the parameters of the assay’s raw materials. For example, magnetic beads, antibodies and buffers should not vary from batch to batch. In addition, these raw materials should all act the same during biomagnetic separation.
Often in life science research and clinical applications, magnetic carriers are utilized to separate or isolate biomolecules from suspension. A biomolecule is coated onto a magnetic bead or is ‘captured’ by a bead and then pulled to a given position in the solution via magnetic forces. In order to establish a robust and reproducible standard operating procedure (SOP), one needs to understand how the magnetic forces are generated and what key parameters need to be controlled.
When a biotech company or other related industry decides to use biomagnetic separation technology, a great deal of time, energy and resources are typically spent by R&D and manufacturing departments to determine the optimal bead to use for their specific applications. Often, however, they overlook one of the major determinants of separation: homogeneity of separation conditions.
Magnetic beads are used by many biotech companies, typically for in vitro diagnostic applications and magnetic bead separation. Because these beads are so widely used, it is very important that every aliquot of every batch has exactly the same properties.
Biomagnetic separation needs validation in order to ensure reproducibility. The skills necessary to identify the key parameters affecting separation performance, measure those parameters, and enact the appropriate controls are specific and require an excellent background in physics.
Magnetic bead separation is being used in more and more applications (e.g. immunoassays, collection of genetic material, protein purification). Most of these applications are industrialized and therefore require quality control protocols, validation audits and standard operating procedures. Because of the economic implications, production mistakes are not acceptable, so products must demonstrate reproducibility in order to be viable.
The success of magnetic bead separation technology comes from its simplicity. Magnetic beads capture biomolecules and then they are extracted from the suspension. No filters are needed, there are no disposables, and there are no moving parts.