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FOCIS Centers of Excellence Led Study Published in Clinical Immunology

Study Revealed Greater Reproducibility from Whole Blood Stimulation Systems as Compared to PBMC Stimulation for Studying Induced Immune Responses

The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) announced a collaborative study conducted by seven FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) in Europe, which appeared in the September 2017 issue of Clinical Immunology in the article “Standardized whole blood stimulation improves immunomonitoring of induced immune responses in multi-center study”.

The study, which compared a system to stimulate whole blood versus conventional peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) methods was led by the Institut Pasteur, a FCE in Paris. The FCEs are a network of academic institutions established to promote multidisciplinary scientific and clinical innovation, education, and advocacy in their local communities.

“This a wonderful example of how FCEs can work together to tackle important research questions,” said Megan Levings, PhD, Professor at University of British Columbia and FCE Chair. “The work is an important step towards improved standardization of immune monitoring assays and will be a great asset for future multi-center clinical studies.”

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, according to study author Darragh Duffy, PhD, of the Center for Translational Research at Institut Pasteur.

“Whole blood stimulation using the Myriad RBM TruCulture® system showed greater reproducibility and improved the statistical power for monitoring differential immune response activation,” said Duffy. “This approach addresses a major unmet need through a robust and flexible method for immunomonitoring that can be reproducibly applied in multi-center clinical studies. It also supports the use of TruCulture in the Milieu Intérieur project, a population based cohort study to determine the genetic and environmental determinants of variable immune responses.”

In the published study, 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. The study revealed greater reproducibility from whole blood stimulation systems as compared to PMBC stimulation for studying induced immune responses.

Scientists and clinicians representing seven prominent FCEs in Europe participated in the study, including:

  1. Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de León/Universidad de León (CAULE)
  2. Hôpital Erasme - Université Libre de Bruxelles
  3. Institute Curie
  4. Institut Pasteur
  5. Nantes University
  6. Paris Diderot University
  7. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)-Barcelona


The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) provides a scientific forum to foster the cross-disciplinary approach required to understand and treat immune-based diseases as the discipline of clinical immunology evolves; a better understanding of the shared pathophysiological underpinnings of clinical immunology and the new therapeutic approaches suggested by these novel relationships, including the increasingly widespread use of biologics in therapy; a forum for education of trainees, physicians, patients and the public in the discipline of clinical immunology; and advocacy in public policy issues. 

The FOCIS’ Centers of Excellence (FCEs) are a grassroots network of academic institutions of translational immunology that create effective training environments for translational researchers and clinicians by promoting interdisciplinary innovation in research and clinical practices, and promoting new links for researchers and clinicians. More information about FOCIS can found at www.focisnet.org.

For More Information


FOCIS Welcomes The Antibody Society as a Member Society


The Antibody Society is an international non-profit association representing individuals and organizations involved in antibody research and development. They engage in activities that broadly benefit their members, and  encourage collaboration between organizations in the antibody field.

They are an authoritative source of information about antibody therapeutics development, which they disseminate via their website, presentations and publications. They also help to organize conferences on topics relevant to antibody research and development. As a non-profit association, the Society can engage with government and international agencies to discuss issues of importance to the antibody community.

In 2016, the Society:

  1. was invited to engage in substantive discussions with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Non-proprietary Names (INN) Expert group regarding the definitions used to assign INN;
  2. co-hosted a meeting on antibody reagent validation held at Asilomar; and
  3. supported the Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire (AIRR) Community.

In 2017, they have continued their discussions with WHO, which led to changes in their antibody naming method. They have started the process of incorporating the AIRR Community into the Society, and will assist with their development of recommendations for:

  1. a common repository for AIRR sequence data,
  2. minimal standards for publishing and depositing AIRR sequence data, and
  3. resources and guidelines for the evaluation of molecular and statistical methods for AIRR sequence data. These topics will be discussed at a workshop to be held in December 2017. Finally, the Society initiated an on-going study of metrics for antibody therapeutics development.

Learn more by visiting www.antibodysociety.org or contacting their President, Paul Parren, PhD, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

View the full roser of FOCIS Member Societies here.

Member Perks at Annual Meeting

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Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology

February 19-22, 2017 | Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Students in this course include clinical fellows, trainees in the pharmaceutical industry, and practicing academic physicians who find the need to enhance their understanding of immunology. Invited speakers lecture on the major topics in cellular and molecular immunology, including innate immunity, B cells, T cells, and cytokines. Special sessions cover new advances in interventional clinical immunology and the molecular and genetic basis of immunologically-mediated diseases. There will be ample opportunity for students to interact with the faculty outside the lecture room. The course provides a syllabus, course book and access to online lecture materials.


Courses Held Before FOCIS 2017

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | Hilton Chicago

A day-long course aimed at practicing clinicians, trainees, and individuals in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who are involved in the development of therapies for immunological diseases. The purpose of the course is to review selected topics in basic immunology, with emphasis on recent advances and issues that are relevant to the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. 

Computational Immunology
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | Hilton Chicago

A day-long course is aimed at scientists involved or interested in the use of multi-dimensional data generated by modern genomics and proteomics technologies such as mass/flow cytometry, next-generation sequencing and microarrays and that feel a need to get a better basic understanding of modern statistical and mathematical concepts necessary for their analysis and interpretation.

New! Cancer Immunity & Immunotherapy
Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | Hilton Chicago

The day-long course will review the scientific basis and current practices of cancer immunotherapy, with emphasis on principles, recent advances as well as prospects, limitations, and future scientific needs. The course is designed for translational researchers and scientists, practicing clinicians, trainees, and individuals in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who are involved in or wish to learn more about immuno-oncology and the development of immunotherapies for cancer. The course will be held in collaboration with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 in Chicago.


FOCIS 2017
Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS)
June 14-17, 2017 | Hilton Chicago
Abstract submission deadline | January 25, 2017

FOCIS is the meeting in translational immunology that will give you a competitive edge in your career. Stay ahead of the curve with leading clinicians and researchers delivering the latest breakthroughs across immune-mediated diseases. Focusing on molecular pathways and their implications in human disease provides the unique opportunity for innovative thinking and apply ideas from the pathologies of other diseases to uncover novel solutions to challenges in the diseases you study.