2008 Antibody profiling identification Far West

Award Year 

In the popular TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the investigators receive DNA test results in minutes and by the end of a one-hour show, arrest their suspect. Real-life forensics testing takes longer—sometimes months longer. If the crime being investigated is perpetrated by a serial criminal, this means not only wasted time, but additional victims. Today, a new technology can quickly screen forensic samples and reduce the number of samples requiring more extensive (more) DNA testing—Antibody Profiling Identification (AbP IDTM). First identified in 1988, these particular antibodies are called Individual Specific Autoantibodies (ISAs), and they perform a “housekeeping” role in the body by removing dead and diseased cells. Because they are directed against an individual’s own tissues, ISAs are unique to each person—and are as individual as a fingerprint. These individualspecific autoantibodies are present throughout life, and their production isn’t changed by illness, medication, or food or drug intake. Humans are born with a full complement of ISAs; however, newborns have the same ISA pattern as their mothers. Humans develop their own unique ISA pattern by the age of two, and after this age, even though body chemistry changes, the ISA profile does not. Developed by researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), AbP IDTM is a powerful new forensic tool that uses a special class of antibodies found in all body fluids, including blood, saliva, urine, perspiration, tears and semen. Coupled with Image IDTM, INL’s proprietary digital imaging software, this technology provides a low-cost, easy-to-use, accurate, and fast method to identify suspects through forensic evidence and build a searchable database. Although the chemistry behind AbP IDTM is complicated, the test procedure itself is not. At a fraction of the cost of a DNA test, an assay can be prepared in about two hours by someone with a high school education and the most basic lab equipment. This makes AbP IDTM perfect for preliminary screening of forensic samples, ensuring that only the most likely candidates undergo more expensive, time-consuming DNA testing. DNA testing costs from $200 to $1,200 or more per assay and, because it requires specialized equipment and highly trained personnel, is only performed at large forensic labs or private DNA testing labs. DNA testing also takes a minimum of 48 hours to complete, but can take weeks, depending on the type of test, and sometimes months, depending on the backlog of cases at the lab. At a projected price that is much lower than the least expensive DNA test, AbP IDTM brings high-level forensic screening capability to law enforcement agencies of all sizes, regardless of geographic location or financial limitations. (less)