The International Working Group on Antibody Validation (IWGAV) is an independent group of international scientists with diverse research interests in the field of protein biology. Thermo Fisher Scientific provided financial support to the IWGAV in 2015 to spearhead the development of industry standards and help combat the common challenges associated with antibody specificity and reproducibility.

In this commentary, published in Nature Methods, the IWGAV proposed a set of standard guidelines for validating antibodies, guidelines that may be used in an application-specific manner and that in part take advantage of technologies recently introduced by the genomics and proteomics communities. The IWGAV suggests five conceptual pillars for validation of antibodies: (i) genetic strategies, (ii) orthogonal strategies, (iii) independent antibody strategies, (iv) expression of tagged proteins, and (v) immunocapture followed by mass spectrometry (MS).

The ultimate goal is that through continued engagement of all stakeholders, comprehensive guidelines will be established that improve the reproducibility of biomedical studies and reduce the amount of time and resources spent on inappropriate immunoreagents.