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"Sin condiciones, sin tiempo, ni lugar, dando todo cuanto somos y poniendole corazon en todo cuanto hacemos". ~ "Without conditions, time, or place, giving all that we are and putting heart into everything that we do.” : The vision I found on the wall of a care home for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities.

I was invited by my colleague, Marta (the psychologist), to join her and a small team of my nursing colleagues to attend a care home for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities for a morning, to teach them specialist skills. These skills were primarily Injection Administration Technique, and Massage Techniques. These skills had been acknowledged by the women as areas requiring further training, guidance and practice.

When we arrived to the care home we were greeted by a group of smiling women and a man who was in their care. They all showed us around the care home, explaining the function of each room. Afterwards, we enjoyed special fruit juice from Honduras and we began the session to teach the women how to safely administer an injection. 

I had assumed, perhaps naively, that I would be imparting my knowledge about injection administration. I had even done extra study to scrub up on the information, and I had prepared myself appropriately, practicing the important phrases in Spanish, and assembling the information in a more accessible format for the women; I had even gone to the effort of bringing with me resources to assist with the learning process for the group. However, as you can see from the pictures above, my main role at this stage was to offer my naked buttocks as a prop for the group to practice with: I was feeling a little disappointed, maybe even with a hint of shame. However, I am a person who preaches “don’t waste time on being embarrassed”, and this was an ideal excuse to practice that; I soon relaxed into the floor mattress as the women practiced the techniques (and essentially provided me with a free buttocks massage). I can assure all readers that NO NEEDLES WERE INSERTED INTO MY BODY!! (And I made damn sure of it too!). The actual insertion of the needles and fake medication was left for the oranges.

Following this, I was invited to begin my session for the morning, teaching massage techniques. I had not fully understood that this was my main role for the morning, so I was far less prepared, having brought nothing with me and completed no extra revision prior to the session. I had to think fast…AND in Spanish!! But, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”, so I took a deep breath, summoned my confidence, opened my Spanish lungs and permitted the waterfall of Spanish words to splash comfortably from my tongue. My personal “inter-professional team” (hands, arms and body) responded in partnership and soon I had various volunteers from the group enthusiastic to be massaged and wanting to massage alongside me as I taught them and they learned. I also ensured the women understood the benefits of massage, why and how it is beneficial for a person, in order for them to have a strong foundation on which to stand their new knowledge and skills.

The morning’s sessions housed passionate teachers of health, and enthusiastic learners thirsty to improve care for the individuals in their lives. I returned home to my weekend of family celebrations feeling blessed that I had been given the opportunity to spend my morning in the company of such eagerness. Every day I feel my soul is fed in a different way by very different people. 

Antibody production

Antibody production involves preparation of antigen samples and their safe injection into laboratory or farm animals so as to evoke high expression levels of antigen-specific antibodies in the serum, which can then be recovered from the animal. Polyclonal antibodies are recovered directly from serum (bleeds). Monoclonal antibodies are produced by fusing antibody-secreting spleen cells from immunized mice with immortal myeloma cell to create monoclonal hybridoma cell lines that express the specific antibody in cell culture supernatant.

Immunization Schedule for Mice:

  • Day 0: Collect pre-immune serum from the mouse to use as a blank when performing ELISA screening after immunization. Store frozen. Inject 50 to 100µg of immunogen (equal to 100 to 200µL of antigen-adjuvant mixture) per mouse. Typical routes of injection include intraperitoneal (i.p.) or subcutaneous (s.c.). One or two such injections may be made per animal.
  • Day 14: Boost with an equivalent amount of immunogen in adjuvant.
  • Day 21: Test bleed and assay antibody response by ELISA. (Typically, mice are bled under anesthesia through the tail vein or the retro-orbital plexis).
  • Day 28: Boost again if necessary. Continue with a similar schedule of alternating boosts and test bleeds until a satisfactory response is observed. For monoclonal antibody production, inject either i.p. or intravenously (i.v.) 4 to 5 days before fusion with the immunogen dissolved in saline (no adjuvant).

Antibody purification involves selective enrichment or specific isolation of antibodies from serum (polyclonal antibodies), ascites fluid or cell culture supernatant of a hybridoma cell line (monoclonal antibodies). Purification methods range from very crude to highly specific and can be classified as follows:

  • Physicochemical fractionation – differential precipitation, size-exclusion or solid-phase binding of immunoglobulins based on size, charge or other shared chemical characteristics of antibodies in typical samples. This isolates a subset of sample proteins that includes the immunoglobulins.
  • Class-specific affinity – solid-phase binding of particular antibody classes (e.g., IgG) by immobilized biological ligands (proteins, lectins, etc.) that have specific affinity to immunoglobulins. This purifies all antibodies of the target class without regard to antigen specificity.
  • Antigen-specific affinity – affinity purification of only those antibodies in a sample that bind to a particular antigen molecule through their specific antigen-binding domains. This purifies all antibodies that bind the antigen without regard to antibody class or isotype.

Antibodies that were developed as monoclonal antibody hybridoma cell lines and produced as ascites fluid or cell culture supernatant can be fully purified without using an antigen-specific affinity method (third type) because the target antibody is (for most practical purposes) the only immunoglobulin in the production sample. By contrast, for polyclonal antibodies (serum samples), antigen-specific affinity purification is required to prevent co-purification of nonspecific immunoglobulins. For example, generally only 2-5% of total IgG in mouse serum is specific for the antigen used to immunize the animal. The type(s) and degree of purification that are necessary to obtain usable antibody depend upon the intended application(s) for the antibody.

credit Thermoscientific

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Toronto and Ottawa should open multiple safe-injection sites: study
Ottawa and Toronto should set up a total of five safe-injection sites where drug users can shoot-up legally, urges a new report whose recommendations would mark a major expansion of the controversial concept if implemented.

Spearheaded by two public-health experts, the report suggests the site would curb the spread of HIV and other infectious disease, prevent some overdose deaths and reduce injection in public places.

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