Immunology Made Simple

A simple whole blood collection and culture system for quantifying physiological interactions of the human immune system in the clinic


TruCulture whole blood collection and stimulation system has revolutionized immune monitoring, especially for pharmacodynamic Phase 1 clinical trials. TruCulture tubes are pre-loaded with proprietary cell culture media and immune stimulant(s) or drug candidates. At the clinical site, blood is drawn directly from a subject into the tube for an instant initiation of the ex vivo stimulation. After incubation in a dry heat block, cells are simply separated from the culture supernatant with a valve separator.

TruCulture tubes offer the following benefits and downstream analysis:

  • Numerous Stimulants— Investigate immune responses to bacterial, viral, T cell cytokine activators with or without drug candidate
  • Reduce Variability—eliminates sample processing & delay prior to culturing
  • Reproducible — easy to use, integrated, closed sterile system
  • Use Anywhere—only requires a 37° heat block and phlebotomist
  • Biomarker Analysis— determine functional immune cell activity with RBM’s OptiMAP panel, designed to measure key secreted proteins from TruCulture supernatants
  • Vaccine Development— antigen recall analysis and profile immune status of patients
  • Flow Cytometry— protocol available for surface marker expression of cell populations
  • Gene Expression— RNA extraction protocols available

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How TruCulture Works

TruCulture tubes are pre-loaded with cell culture media and immune stimulant(s) or drug candidates. Blood is drawn directly into the TruCulture tube and incubated in a dry heat block. Supernatants are collected by simply inserting a valve separator to separate cells from the culture supernatant.

TruCulture Procedure, Collect


Draw 1 mL of blood directly into the TruCulture Tube and break off the plunger.

TruCulture Procedure, MIX

02. MIX

Place tube in 37ºC heat block for up to 48 hours. (typically 24 hours)

TruCulture Procedure, Incubate


Manually insert valve to separate supernatant from the cells.

TruCulture Procedure, separate


Collect supernatant and analyze for secreted proteins.

PBMCs vs. TruCulture

Traditional pharmacodynamic whole blood experiments are generally short in duration (2-6 hrs) as a consequence of poor culture conditions leading to premature termination of the normal physiological immune response. A longer more robust response usually provides higher sensitivity and greater relevance than short incubation times that may only lead to the release of stored pre-synthesized mediators.

Advantages of TruCulture

  • Integrated closed sterile instant whole blood collection and culture system.
  • Standardized to ensure consistent performance across multiple users and clinical sites.
  • Reliable, easy to use, and reproducible – eliminates the need for cell manipulation.
  • Retains all blood components, granulocytes, platelets, red blood cells, soluble factors and Fc receptor expressing cells.
  • Only inexpensive heat block needed, no lab equipment nor centrifugation steps.
  • Has been successfully deployed in hundreds of clinical drug trials.

Disadvantages of PBMCs

  • Separate blood collection and specialized cell culture procedures.
  • Extensive manipulation, processing, and often freezing/shipping prior to culturing.
  • Requires technical expertise with increased variability across users and clinical sites.
  • Requires CO2 incubator, biosafety cabinet, centrifuge, media, and cell culture plastics.
  • Culture procedures/conditions are difficult to standardize for clinical trial applications.
  • Open, less sterile, artificial system.
  • Poor reproducibility.
PBMC vs TruCulture whole blood collection and stimulation