Monday, January 2, 2017

CAS numbers aren't just for chemicals, but also for antibodies, peptides and others

CAS pelotonia.jpg

If you look close enough at this picture you can spot two happy Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) members exiting the building. They have just generated 4 new CAS numbers for the very new organic compounds.
This building is where they dwell, while we in research and particularly in LabSuit can happily use their fruitful work.

CAS numbers

In this blogpost I'll be talking about CAS numbers in LabSuit.
Many of us use CAS numbers on the daily basis. They help us uniquely identify chemical compounds and avoid moments of frustration.

Not a long time ago, in LabSuit, we prescribed CAS number fields for chemicals only. While this may be theoretically fine, for practical purposes that may not always be the case. 

CAS numberS have richer context

There was a trigger that helped us to drive the change in LabSuit - we talked with Yifat Abramovich from Rapport, Medicine Department of Technion. Ifat is using CAS number for antibodies! Then we analyzed a bigger sample of compounds across different labs and realized there were numerous cases when items were categorized as chemicals, while could have been categorized in a more narrow category. 
Therefore we decided to bring CAS number field into other categories as well. From now on, antibodies, peptides, etc. can have CAS numbers.
We are grateful to Yifat for this valuable feedback which lead us to this solution!


An image courtesy of Jack B108 - Own work by uploader--from a friend w/permission, CC BY-SA 3.0Link

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