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Back to blog Still the Elite!

Still the Elite!

The VECTASTAIN® Elite kit has been a staple kit in labs for decades, and is truly standing the test of time - the Elite kits have over 51,000 references!

We sat down with 3 questions for our in house IHC expert Liz, who’s been in technical support for this product range for the last 25 years to find out a little more about these kits.


Why do you think the VECTASTAIN Elite kits are so popular?

I think one of the great things about all the VECTASTAIN kits is their flexibility. Although most primary antibodies are made in mouse or rabbit, for antibodies made in goat, guinea pig or chicken, the detection options for IHC start to dwindle rapidly. Because the VECTASTAIN system can be used with pretty much anything biotinylated, be it a primary antibody, secondary antibody and probes too, it’s really handy to have the standard kit, which is just the final HRP ABC layer. It’s really handy to mix and match with good sensitivity.


And how does it compare to newer methods?

The VECTASTAIN method is longer than the polymer kits out there, for sure, and you do have to be mindful of endogenous biotin, but as far as sensitivity goes, the Elite kits are on a par with the ImmPRESS micropolymer kits.


We’re really aware that researchers need to be cautious with their funding at the moment; have you any tips to help keep costs down with IHC?

There’s a lot to consider! There are the original HRP VECTASTAIN kits; they can stain double the number of sections compared to the ELITE kit; however, because the ELITE kits are 2-4x more sensitive, you can get the same staining with less of your primary antibody, and quite often that can counter the extra cost of the ELITE kit. 

Project size is another factor; why buy a larger kit than you need? The 15ML ImmPRESS Plus kits are really great for small projects for mouse or rabbit antibodies; at 75-150 sections stained per kit, that can be enough, but for 500-1000 sections, the ELITE can last a while!

One tip is to maybe go for one of the ImmPACT DABs. They can also add to the sensitivity of your method, so again, it helps to keep the primary antibody required low, and also you can make up more appropriate amounts of substrate at a time. The original Vector DAB kit was to make up 5ml of working solution at a time, but it needed to be used up quickly, in only a few hours. The ImmPACT substrates you can make up in 1ml increments, so you have more control to start with, but the working solution is also stable for much longer. It’s always best made fresh, but it’s stable for a few days in the fridge, so if you’re staining little and often, and your staining is more qualitative than quantitative, then there’s no problem to come back the next day & use up yesterday’s leftover first. DAB isn’t a nice chemical – so reducing the waste has to be good!

What questions would you have asked? Here’s your chance!