Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) are used in several types of research. The PBMC are actually any type of blood cell with a single round nucleus. They consist of lymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages, plus basophils and dendrites. Healthy donors are used to collect the peripheral blood cells. They are carefully screened for a large variety of diseases before they can donate blood.
The peripheral blood mononuclear cells are essential to the immune system, in order to fight infections. Mononuclear blood cells are a combination of cell types, which are isolated from the bone marrow, fetal liver, umbilical cord blood and peripheral blood. These blood cells are important for immunology related research. The cells are extracted from blood using a process referred to as ficoll. The complicated process involves using a hydrophilic polysaccharide, which separates the layers of blood. The top layer is plasma, and the second layer has the PBMC cells.
These blood cells are used extensively in research, which includes immunology, infectious diseases, malignancies, hematological malignancies, vaccine development transplant immunology and high-throughput screening. PBMC is produced as needed, fresh or from a frozen inventory. There are numerous diseases being researched at this time.
High Throughput Screening (HTS) is a widely used process of drug discovery by the pharmaceutical industry. Its ability to rapidly screen distinct compounds, such as small molecules, has led to a phenomenal explosion of new data in the past few years. This complex process has demonstrated it can screen 1000 times faster, at 1 millionth of the cost. This recent innovation is possible due to robotic advances and high-speed computer technology. New drugs are discovered more quickly, and it also measures dose response.
There has been a great deal of research and progress has been made for HIV patients, with promising new data. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a virus found particularly in the salivary glands. This virus is dangerous for infants, organ transplant patients and any person that is immune suppressed. Healthy people usually have no symptoms, but for infants and the immune suppressed population, the virus can be lethal. Thanks to the new research using PBMC, the virus is more easily detected and treated.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, (an auto-immune disease affecting several organ systems), is another disease being researched in relation to PBMC. The conclusion of a large study indicates interferon and protein levels are higher in those patients suffering from renal disease and arthritis. A new medication that specifically treats this disease has been developed.
Squamous cell carcinoma is another disease being researched at the present time. The possibilities for treatment of diseases utilizing PBMC technology appears to be unlimited. The new medications alone are a phenomenal stride toward healing.