Antibody Validation for Western Blots: By the User, for the User

New JBC manuscript promotes industry-leading best practice guidance on antibody validation via Western blotting

  • Supports life science industry’s current focus on improving antibody reproducibility
  • Updated methodology for 30-year old “classic” proteomic technique

Cambridge, UK, and Lincoln, USA - 27th January 2020 - Abcam and LI-COR are pleased to announce the publication of a jointly-authored manuscript in the peer-reviewed Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC)1, aiming to improve reagent reproducibility standards across the life sciences industry. The new paper by Pillai-Kastoori et al., “Antibody Validation for Western blot: By the User, for the User” makes best practice recommendations on suitable standards for antibody validation, and provides effective strategies to demonstrate antibody specificity, selectivity, and reproducibility in Western blotting.

Over the past few years the poor quality of life sciences reagents, including antibodies2, has impacted the entire industry and contributed to a global reproducibility crisis. In an attempt to address this issue four years ago, Abcam incorporated several advanced technologies to their in-house antibody validation, including knockout (KO) cell line testing as negative controls. To date, more than 2500 antibodies have been validated with this tool in order to confirm their specificity – an unprecedented scale within the industry. The in-depth knowledge and learnings from this initiative have been combined with LI-COR’s Western blotting expertise to create valuable insights that are now accessible to scientists through the JBC publication.

Dr. Alejandra Solache, vice president new product development at Abcam, commented: “We are dedicated to providing scientists with only the highest-quality reagents and fully support initiatives that improve reproducibility across the life science sector. Consistency and reproducibility are integral elements of our product development, manufacturing and antibody validation at-scale, and sharing our methods in a well-recognised journal such as JBC allows us and our collaborators at LI-COR to make a bigger impact on the industry. We hope this paper will provide the scientific community with access to the most up-to-date knowledge and know-how on Western blotting for antibody validation.”

Dr. Lakshmi Pillai-Kastoori, co-first author and biotechnology R&D scientist at LI-COR, said: “Inconsistent use of antibodies leads to variability in Western blotting and other immunoassays. Researchers should be able to consistently achieve reproducible results within and between Western blot experiments. A synergistic effort between antibody vendors and researchers is also critical to solving the current crisis, which is why it was important that we collaborated closely with Abcam on this paper.”

The publication follows the recent launch of Abcam’s KO cell lysates, the largest available portfolio on the market that provides validated positive and negative control samples suited to antibody validation and a variety of Western blotting applications.


  1. Pillai-Kastoori, L. and Heaton, S. et al., 2020. Antibody Validation for Western blot: By the User, for the User. J Biol Chem. 295(4): pp YY-Z.
  2. Bradbury A. et al., 2015. Reproducibility: Standardize antibodies used in research. Nature. 518(7537): pp 27-9.

Notes to Editors

About Abcam plc

As a global life sciences company, Abcam identifies, develops, and distributes high-quality biological reagents and tools that are crucial to research, drug discovery and diagnostics. Working across the industry, the Company supports life scientists to achieve their mission, faster.

Abcam partners with life science organizations to co-create novel binders for use in drug discovery, in vitro diagnostics and therapeutics, driven by the Company's proprietary discovery platforms and world-leading, antibody expertise.

By constantly innovating its binders and assays, Abcam is helping advance the global understanding of biology and causes of disease, which enables new treatments and improved health. The Company's pioneering data-sharing approach gives scientists increased confidence in their results by providing validation, user comments and peer-reviewed citations for its 110,000 products.

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About LI-COR Biosciences

LI-COR Biosciences offers research solutions for Targeted Therapeutics Development and Robust Western Blotting. The company is an industry leader in imaging systems, analysis software, and IRDye® infrared dye reagents for quantitative protein and small animal imaging. From academic discovery through preclinical validation, whether characterizing a pathway or validating a therapeutic candidate, LI-COR technology helps move research through the development process.

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