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ies with the Army or in China, and what we have come to find out now is that if we optimize our sensitivity in a mitogen-induced whole-blood system, the CV [coefficient of variation] values are down at 17 or 20 percent in comparison to the cytokines produced from whole blood in the cultures, which are up in the 50 to 60 percent range.

Actually, we find that IL-2 gives us the poorest data in comparison with interferon gamma and IL-10. So I think when you start looking at the whole area of immunology, if you try to look at the whole big picture it becomes too complex. That is why we try to use the lymphocyte as a sort of cell from the immune system in order to look at its response in vitro. We have found that we get less variation when we take a CBC [complete blood count]; thus, we can calculate the data per volume of blood and also per lymphocyte. Our data actually come out tighter that way than with standard.

GABRIEL VIRELLA: It would be tighter just because you have been standardizing your technique through the years, and obviously that happens. The more we run a technique, the better trained and the more experienced our technicians are, the tighter the coefficient of variation becomes. That is fine.

But I have a problem with this being physiological. I do not think testing whole blood is a physiological way to test immune response. I mean, it does not happen in whole blood. It does not happen that way.

TIM KRAMER: That is right, but if you look at it the other way, I have a question about the physiology when you take lymphocytes and standardize them to a constant number in vitro. You are looking at the activity of the cells on a per cell basis, but then the differences between individuals are hard to interpret because their white blood cell counts are different. So I think you have big flaws [with both methods].

GABRIEL VIRELLA: But in the IL-2 assay, I have tighter results than you do, so each one of us has tighter results in what we like to run, you know.


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