Flow cytometric analysis and/or mass cytometric analysis of cells

Flow cytometric analysis and/or mass cytometric analysis of cells or cell-bound proteins can be used as predictive biomarkers for disease outcome and response to immune interventions [10]. These approaches seem to be more powerful

than conventional methods, such as ELISA and Luminex, with key features like a short sample processing time, low blood amounts required per condition to be tested, the possibility to process both stimulated or non-stimulated samples, and the use of fresh samples which reduces the artefacts and loss of sensitivity due to cryopreservation. Important issues to guarantee reliability of the obtained data are standardisation of sample preparation, transport and storage, inter-test variation (occurring when large Epigenetics inhibitor numbers of samples are processed by a single operator on a single day), data acquisition, and appropriate Raf inhibitor quality controls (QCs) (e.g. acceptable percentage of dead cells, minimum number of analysed events, reference controls). In the field of cancer immunotherapy, harmonisation and standardisation

of T-cell immunoassays (e.g. ELISpot and intracellular cytokine staining) has proven to be feasible on an international scale with great success [11]. Growth inhibition assays are increasingly used in TB and malaria. For TB, whole blood or PBMC-based tests utilising a liquid culture system for detection of mycobacterial growth have shown promise and are currently being assessed for use in early phase Sitaxentan vaccine clinical trials [12] and [13]. As an alternative to array-based platforms,

assays have been designed that offer specific, robust, affordable and practical bioprofiling platforms. The dcRT-MLPA assay is a RT-PCR-based gene expression profiling method, which represents a valid alternative to perform intermediate sized multiplex screens [1] and [3] once a tailored signature has been composed, e.g., based on information from unbiased genome-wide expression analysis. The assay setup ensures high assay sensitivity and avoids the limitations of multiplex PCR and the costly aspects of genome-wide platforms such as micro-arrays and RNA sequencing. It is becoming increasingly obvious that type of samples used (e.g. whole blood, PBMC, serum, plasma and urine), age of the individuals, or environmental factors (e.g. the circadian rhythm of the subjects including the number of sleep hours) can have a great impact on host responses [14]. It is thus important to carefully monitor epidemiological data from clinical trial study participants to draw adequate conclusions, when analysing the data. In the context of clinical trials, systems biology combines clinical and epidemiological data with all transcriptional, proteomic, metabolomic and immunological data gathered [8], [9], [15], [16], [17], [18] and [19].

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