AAT Bioquest

What are the applications of immunochemical techniques?

Posted November 7, 2023


Immunochemical techniques are laboratory processes that are used to detect, quantify, and characterize specific molecules, such as proteins or antigens, in biological samples. These techniques are based on the highly specific affinity of an antibody for its antigen and often involve the use of antibodies or other immune reagents to selectively identify and measure the target molecule. Some of the more widely used immunochemical techniques include Western blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and immunoprecipitation

Immunochemical techniques are used extensively in research, diagnostic, and clinical laboratories for various purposes. Common applications of immunochemical techniques include: 

  • Earlier and more accurate detection and identification of infectious diseases: Immunofluorescence assays, ELISA and PCR are three types of immunochemical techniques used to detect and identify disease-causing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. This is key to early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and containment of outbreaks of contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, influenza, malaria, and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Diagnosis of autoimmune disorders: Immunochemical techniques such as Western blotting, ELISA, and indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) play a critical role in diagnosing autoimmune disorders because of their ability to detect specific autoantibodies that target self-antigens. These techniques are commonly used to detect and identify autoantibodies associated with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune hepatitis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Early detection helps in implementing appropriate treatment strategies during the early stages, resulting in improved patient outcomes. 
  • Earlier cancer diagnosis: Immunochemical techniques are used in multiple ways in the early cancer diagnosis and treatment. Techniques such as ELISA and flow cytometry aid in the early detection of tumor markers such as Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) and Specific Antigen (PSA), which helps in cancer screening and monitoring response to treatment. Other immune profiling techniques, such as immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry guide the development of targeted immunotherapies by providing valuable insights into the microenvironment of tumors. 
Additional resources

An introduction to immunology and immunopathology

Immunohistochemistry (IHC)

iFluor® 488 PSA™ Imaging Kit with Goat Anti-Mouse IgG