I just came across a press release that looked like it might be interesting to some of you: 1DegreeBio has launched a Stem Cell Portal on its site, that allows you to easily find user reviews and protocols for antibodies used in stem cell research.
1DegreeBio is a relatively new company and the database of reviews is still incomplete, but they do have long lists of antibodies for various targets, and an easy interface for search queries. For example, of the more than two hundred listed antibodies against POU5F1, only two have currently been reviewed by users, and another three were linked to relevant publications.
The resource is free to use, though, and if you submit your own reviews of the antibodies you use, you can earn points that you can then spend in their shop, on Amazon gift cards or geeky toys, or donate to charity.
As the number of reviews on the site grow, you’ll be able to make more accurate assessments on the functionality of various antibodies. It seems especially useful for antibodies from certain companies that don’t do any quality testing themselves, but that are sometimes unavoidable when no other supplier sells the antibody you need. I do wonder how 1DegreeBio will be able to ensure that all reviews are done by actual independent researchers, and not left by employees of the companies selling the products, but that is something that might also be less of an issue as the number of reviews grows.
If any of you are using the 1DegreeBio site and their stem cell portal, feel free to leave a comment about your experience. I didn’t sign up myself, because I’m no longer using antibodies, but I’ve gone through many, many vials during my PhD, and have emailed several companies to check species specificity (“Does your human antibody also work with mice?”). If this kind of “Yelp for antibodies” had existed back then I’m sure I would have left many reviews about extreme variation in batch strength, unidentified cross-reactivity, and the few unexpectedly perfect antibodies that saved my thesis.