[Histonet] Using expired reagents in IHC

From:Amos Brooks

         We always get new antibodies before the old expire. We only have a 
few expired ones kicking around. The Big High Muckety-Mucks (somewhat 
understandably) have determined that the cost of the fines and dealing with 
battling the inspectors would be worse, in the short term, than the cost of 
purchasing just enough of the antibodies and not dealing with the extra 
tech time involved in testing the same antibody monthly.
         I can see the logic of either side of the coin. It may be easy to 
overlook a reagent quality gradually decreasing. Repeated testing of the 
reagent costs time & money too. And the risk of the fines looming over your 
head is enough to make one hesitate. On the other hand the money saved on 
keeping antibodies around for decades is appealing. I guess you could say 
we're erring on the side of caution ... bloody expensive caution.
         On another note, has anyone noticed that the listed shelf life of 
these reagents is shrinking lately. I just got one in today that has about 
9 months until it expires. It is enough to make one wonder if the antibody 
companies are pushing for these regulations. I mean, really, where do they 
come up with these dates anyway?
Have a great day,
Amos Brooks

At 10:54 AM 11/2/2004, you wrote:
>Message: 3
>Date: Mon, 01 Nov 2004 14:26:32 -0500
>From: "Richard Cartun" 
>Subject: [Histonet] Using expired reagents in IHC
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
>It has been brought to my attention that the CAP Laboratory checklist
>has been revised as of 9/30/04 and now includes a question, "Are all
>immunohistochemical reagents used within their indicated expiration
>dates?".  I have always believed that it is acceptable to use expired
>regents (mainly primary antibodies) as long as their reactivity is
>acceptable and documented.  Obviously, the expiration date that
>manufactures use is not an accurate reflection of the reagent's
>likelihood of poor performance.  Does anyone have information on this
>change?  Thank you.
>Richard W. Cartun, Ph.D.
>Director, Immunopathology & Histology
>Assistant Director, Anatomic Pathology
>Hartford Hospital
>80 Seymour Street
>Hartford, CT  06102
>(860) 545-1596
>(860) 545-0174 Fax

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