Re: Throwing Out Antibodies

From:Todd Sherman

Hello William,

Executive summary:
(1) Study past trends; (2) Modify product storage

I understand the hesitancy to discard these expensive products with expiring shelf lives.  Do you have a historical log or
an accessible database to study trends in your lab?  If not, one of your first tasks might be to initiate one.  The key,
obviously, is to purchase just enough reagent to meet the lab's needs without excess...just in time invenory as they say. 
It's difficult to predict future purchases without some historical perspective.  For example, if you knew that the lab was
going to perform an average of 15 beta-galactosidase and 5 CD1a IHC case studies per month, you would be able to
get a better grasp of an appropriate amount of Ab product (among others) that you need on your shelves.  This is
especially applicable if your antibodies are pre-made/prediluted or from kits with abbreviated shelf-lives.  Your job gets
marginally easier if you can acquire Ab concentrates that can be aliquoted and stored frozen for extended periods.  In
this case you minimize your losses if you need only discard a small portion of the whole batch.  The exception here is
the documented shelf life versus "real world" shelf life.  By this I mean an antibody might be experimentally viable for
years if prepared/frozen/stored properly but might not be considered viable by the CAP inspectors.  This is a debate left
for manufacturers and inspectors that I'll not address here.  If you can get a manufacturer guarantee that the properly
stored product is viable for years, rather than months, you could discard the diluted, aliquoted units without excessive
loss and still satisfy inspectors.  This might require an annual QC run of each Ab to satisfy the lab internally that the
product still works.

I would also suggest donating the questionable lots to cash-strapped sister RESEARCH labs.  You certainly would not
do what I'm suggesting for a clinical lab.  Some underfunded labs might appreciate the opportunity to use these dated
products that could still be good but just not quite legal for human studies.  Granted, a research lab doesn't want to add
an unknown variable in a study, but if the bench work is very preliminary, they might welcome your support.  If the
antibody works in a preliminary study, then the lab can purchase a new lot to confirm results.  Certainly not an ideal
situation but I, like you, hate to see the waste.

Hope this helps,

Todd Sherman

7/30/2001 5:14:44 PM, William Wallace  wrote:

>Fellow Histonetters,
>I am a Long-time reader, first time questioner.
>With a CAP inspection coming up, I am faced with throwing out a significant
>amount of expired or soon-to-expire primary antibodies that I have inherited
>from the previous lab manager.  I hate to throw out such valua

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>