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1.  His-tag ELISA for the detection of humoral tumor-specific immunity 
BMC Immunology  2008;9:23.
Background
The application of high throughput molecular techniques such as SEREX are resulting in the identification of a multitude of tumor associated antigens. As newly identified antigens are incorporated into a variety of clinical trials, standardization of immunologic monitoring methods becomes increasingly important. We questioned whether mammalian cell expression of a histadine-linked human protein could be used to produce antigen suitable for detecting tumor-specific humoral immunity and whether such an assay could be amenable to standardization for clinical use.
Methods
We designed a his-tagged capture ELISA based on lysate from genetically engineered CHO cells for detection of antibodies to insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2, a novel tumor antigen. We performed technical and preliminary clinical validation studies, including comparison to a standard indirect ELISA based on commercially prepared recombinant antigen.
Results
The his-tagged capture ELISA could be standardized. Precision experiments resulted in CVs < 15%. Linearity and calibration experiments demonstrated r2 values of 0.99. In comparison to Western blot analysis, his-tag and indirect ELISA accurately identified 88% and 93% of samples, respectively. Sample concordance between capture and indirect assays was highly significant (p = 0.003). Furthermore, significantly greater levels of IGFBP-2 antibody immunity were found in cancer patients compared to normal controls (p = 0.008).
Conclusion
A genetically engineered cell lysate based ELISA can be amenable to standardization and can detect increased levels of antibody immunity to tumor-associated antigen in cancer patients compared to non tumor-bearing healthy controls.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-9-23
PMCID: PMC2414992  PMID: 18510754
2.  Precision and linearity targets for validation of an IFNγ ELISPOT, cytokine flow cytometry, and tetramer assay using CMV peptides 
BMC Immunology  2008;9:9.
Background
Single-cell assays of immune function are increasingly used to monitor T cell responses in immunotherapy clinical trials. Standardization and validation of such assays are therefore important to interpretation of the clinical trial data. Here we assess the levels of intra-assay, inter-assay, and inter-operator precision, as well as linearity, of CD8+ T cell IFNγ-based ELISPOT and cytokine flow cytometry (CFC), as well as tetramer assays.
Results
Precision was measured in cryopreserved PBMC with a low, medium, or high response level to a CMV pp65 peptide or peptide mixture. Intra-assay precision was assessed using 6 replicates per assay; inter-assay precision was assessed by performing 8 assays on different days; and inter-operator precision was assessed using 3 different operators working on the same day. Percent CV values ranged from 4% to 133% depending upon the assay and response level. Linearity was measured by diluting PBMC from a high responder into PBMC from a non-responder, and yielded R2 values from 0.85 to 0.99 depending upon the assay and antigen.
Conclusion
These data provide target values for precision and linearity of single-cell assays for those wishing to validate these assays in their own laboratories. They also allow for comparison of the precision and linearity of ELISPOT, CFC, and tetramer across a range of response levels. There was a trend toward tetramer assays showing the highest precision, followed closely by CFC, and then ELISPOT; while all three assays had similar linearity. These findings are contingent upon the use of optimized protocols for each assay.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-9-9
PMCID: PMC2275721  PMID: 18366814
3.  Sensitivity and specificity of tritiated thymidine incorporation and ELISPOT assays in identifying antigen specific T cell immune responses 
BMC Immunology  2007;8:21.
Background
Standardization of cell-based immunologic monitoring is becoming increasingly important as methods for measuring cellular immunity become more complex. We assessed the ability of two commonly used cell-based assays, tritiated thymidine incorporation (proliferation) and IFN-gamma ELISPOT, to predict T cell responses to HER-2/neu, tetanus toxoid (tt), and cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigens. These antigens were determined to be low (HER-2/neu), moderate (tt), and robustly (CMV) immunogenic proteins. Samples from 27 Stage II, III, and IV HER-2/neu positive breast cancer patients, vaccinated against the HER-2/neu protein and tt, were analyzed by tritiated thymidine incorporation and IFN-gamma ELISPOT for T cell response.
Results
Linear regression analysis indicates that both stimulation index (SI) (p = 0.011) and IFN-gamma secreting precursor frequency (p < 0.001) are significant indicators of antigen specific immunity. ROC curves plotted to assess the performance of tritiated thymidine incorporation and the ELISPOT assay indicate that SI is a significant indicator of low T cell response to the HER-2/neu vaccine (p = 0.05), and of moderate and robust responses to tt (p = 0.01) and CMV (p = 0.016), respectively. IFN-gamma precursor frequency is a significant indicator of a robust T cell response to CMV (p = 0.03), but not of moderate tt (p = 0.09), or low HER-2/neu (p = 0.09) T cell responses.
Conclusion
These data underscore the importance of taking into consideration the performance characteristics of assays used to measure T cell immunity. This consideration is particularly necessary when determining which method to utilize for assessing responses to immunotherapeutic manipulations in cancer patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-8-21
PMCID: PMC2034595  PMID: 17850666
4.  Impact of cryopreservation on tetramer, cytokine flow cytometry, and ELISPOT 
BMC Immunology  2005;6:17.
Background
Cryopreservation of PBMC and/or overnight shipping of samples are required for many clinical trials, despite their potentially adverse effects upon immune monitoring assays such as MHC-peptide tetramer staining, cytokine flow cytometry (CFC), and ELISPOT. In this study, we compared the performance of these assays on leukapheresed PBMC shipped overnight in medium versus cryopreserved PBMC from matched donors.
Results
Using CMV pp65 peptide pool stimulation or pp65 HLA-A2 tetramer staining, there was significant correlation between shipped and cryopreserved samples for each assay (p ≤ 0.001). The differences in response magnitude between cryopreserved and shipped PBMC specimens were not significant for most antigens and assays. There was significant correlation between CFC and ELISPOT assay using pp65 peptide pool stimulation, in both shipped and cryopreserved samples (p ≤ 0.001). Strong correlation was observed between CFC (using HLA-A2-restricted pp65 peptide stimulation) and tetramer staining (p < 0.001). Roughly similar sensitivity and specificity were observed between the three assays and between shipped and cryopreserved samples for each assay.
Conclusion
We conclude that all three assays show concordant results on shipped versus cryopreserved specimens, when using a peptide-based readout. The assays are also concordant with each other in pair wise comparisons using equivalent antigen systems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-6-17
PMCID: PMC1190174  PMID: 16026627

Results 1-4 (4)