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BioTechniques: Antibodies for Parkinson’s Disease Research Available for Validation

By Andrew S. Wiecek

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) has asked the Parkinson’s disease research community to help validate antibodies that target Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) proteins. Mutations in the LRRK2 gene have clear associations with Parkinson’s disease, according to research published in recent years, so by providing the research community with tools such as well-characterized LRRK2 antibodies, the foundation believes that it will help speed research into LRRK2 and treatments.

To validate the antibodies for different applications, MJFF is providing researchers with free samples of five different rabbit monoclonal LRRK2 antibodies to test in different applications. In exchange for these antibodies, the researchers are required to submit validation data to the foundation four weeks after receiving of the antibodies. The foundation will then make the validation data available to the public through their website.

“The antibodies that we’re sending out to researchers have already been partially validated by a team of researchers from Eli Lilly and Johns Hopkins University,” Allison Urkowitz, co-leader of the LRRK2 Antibodies Project at MJFF, told BioTechniques. “Along with them, now, we’re inviting the community to validate these antibodies. The researchers will provide data to help better characterize these antibodies.”

Before this stage of the validation project, MJFF asked researchers from Eli Lilly and Company and Johns Hopkins University to help narrow a field of 50 candidate antibodies to the five best-performing ones. The laboratories determined the reactivity and specificity of these antibodies by Western blot in a variety of cells types. According to the foundation, the initial testing by immunoblot was promising, but it is not sure how these antibodies will perform with other methods.

Researchers can request one vial of each of the five antibody clones through an online application at the foundation’s Web site.

Since the announcement last week, over 80 laboratories have requested these antibodies, according to the foundation. “We expected that there would have this number of requests, but we didn’t expect for them to come so quickly,” said Todd Sherer, vice president of Research Programs at MJFF. “It showed us that the research community is really thirsty to get their hands on these research tools.”

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