5 Benefits of Testing with Pooled PBMC

research blog post

1. Eliminate Costly LAL & Rabbit Testing

Because their blood clots at the presence of bacterial endotoxins, lysate of horseshoe crab blood (Limulus amoebocyte lysate, LAL) has been used since the 1960s to test pharmaceuticals for substances that can cause fever. The rabbit pyrogen test was more commonly used before the 1960s but is still utilized today in some scenarios.

Extensive harvesting of horseshoe crabs for biomedical research (and other purposes) has led to a decline in natural populations, causing many states and organizations to introduce quotas and other preservation regulations.

By testing with pooled PBMC instead of LAL, you can play in important role in the conservation of the horseshoe crab – a species that has lived for over 450 million years.

2. Be Proactive

The current worldwide horseshoe crab population cannot sustainably support the growing demand for their copper-based blue blood by the life sciences, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. As a result, there is increasing interest in legally protecting horseshoe crabs and other animals from testing, particularly in Europe. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) already takes biomedical collection into account in their overall collection quotas.

With mounting pressure to reduce the use of animals for drug testing, the Monocyte Activation Test (MAT) has emerged as a logical alternative to LAL. In fact, MAT detects pyrogens that are not detected by LAL, making it a more efficient and comprehensive test. Moving forward, MAT will likely replace LAL as the standard for endotoxin testing.

Pooled PBMC products give you the opportunity to be proactive in switching from horseshoe crab-dependent LAL testing to the more sustainable MAT alternative, positioning your company for compliance with future anti-animal testing regulations.

3. Reduce Donor Variability

The European Pharmacopoeia’s guidelines for the MAT recommend pooling PBMC from at least four donors to reduce the effects of donor variability. Although four donors is the minimum recommendation, a total of eight donors in the pool is preferred for best results.

While most donors respond to bacterial endotoxins, there is greater variation in responses to other pyrogens. Including more donors in your sample increases the chance that all contaminants will be detected.

4. Obtain Appropriate Samples

Blood donors must avoid anti-inflammatory medications before donation. We also test for blood borne pathogens such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C to prevent lab-acquired infections.

Astarte’s donors have given informed consent and are free of medications that could interfere with the MAT. Our pooled PBMC have been tested using MAT to ensure all samples are clean and appropriate for your experiments.

5. Get a Broader Range

Pooled PBMC can be used to detect pyrogens other than bacterial endotoxins, such as viral DNA and RNA bacterial glycan, lipopeptides, and other substances. By testing with pooled PBMC, you are utilizing the most relevant and broad detection system available.

Have more questions about pooled PBMC and how to use them? Ask an Astarte scientist today to get answers!

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