Many flow cytometry assays use purified white blood cells isolated from whole blood. This enriched fraction of cells is ideal for looking at multitudes of different immune cell populations but does not always reflect what is happening in living organisms. In the past, whole blood assays have been avoided for flow cytometry because red blood cells can show autofluorescence and the overall abundance of certain lymphocytes can be quite low and difficult to measure.
Now, flow cytometry-based whole blood assays are becoming a valuable tool for translational research because they give a better picture of what is happening in the peripheral blood system. Consider these three benefits of using whole blood assays for your next preclinical or clinical studies.
1. Picking the Best Pipeline Candidates.
Whole blood assays enable researchers to screen hundreds of potential drug or biologic candidates and assess their response in vitro. Whole blood assays are a powerful bridge between traditional in vitro experiments using purified cell populations and in vivo experiments using animals or clinical volunteers. Whole blood assays are customizable, but you will need to understand the mechanism of action (MOA) of your experimental drug or biologic at some level in order to develop an appropriate readout and determine an optimal therapeutic concentration.
2. Rapid and Robust Toxicological and Safety Screening.
Stimulation of whole blood samples with different experimental molecules followed by flow cytometry analysis is a rapid and reproducible method for toxicological analyses, including pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiling, and this approach can expedite pre-clinical development.
3. Dosing Discernment.
Whole blood assays are a powerful tool to aid researchers in the determination of the potential dosing concentration for an experimental drug or biologic. This is critical to determining which candidates can undergo further development during preclinical and translational research. During clinical trials or routine treatments, whole blood assays can also be used to monitor therapeutic responses in patients, and clinicians can use the readouts of these assays to measure the effectiveness of a given treatment.
Consider adapting your flow cytometry assays to whole blood assays and take your translational research and preclinical development to the next level.