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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.

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