Standardized whole blood stimulation improves immunomonitoring of induced immune responses in multi-center study

Clin Immunol. 2017 Oct;183:325-335. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2017.09.019. Epub 2017 Sep 22.


Functional immune responses are increasingly important for clinical studies, providing in depth biomarker information to assess immunotherapy or vaccination. Incorporating functional immune assays into routine clinical practice has remained limited due to challenges in standardizing sample preparation. We recently described the use of a whole blood syringe-based system, TruCulture®, which permits point-of-care standardized immune stimulation. Here, we report on a multi-center clinical study in seven FOCIS Centers of Excellence to directly compare TruCulture to conventional PBMC methods. Whole blood and PBMCs from healthy donors were exposed to LPS, anti-CD3 anti-CD28 antibodies, or media alone. 55 protein analytes were analyzed centrally by Luminex multi-analyte profiling in a CLIA-certified laboratory. TruCulture responses showed greater reproducibility and improved the statistical power for monitoring differential immune response activation. The use of TruCulture addresses a major unmet need through a robust and flexible method for immunomonitoring that can be reproducibly applied in multi-center clinical studies.

One sentence summary: A multi-center study revealed greater reproducibility from whole blood stimulation systems as compared to PBMC stimulation for studying induced immune responses.

Keywords: Cytokines; Functional immune responses; Immunomonitoring; Multi-center clinical studies; PBMCs; Whole blood.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Donors
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • CD8 Antigens / immunology
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Tests / instrumentation*
  • Immunologic Tests / methods*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • Point-of-Care Systems


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides