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Clin Immunol. 2004 Mar;110(3):199-205.

Flow cytometric analysis of vaccine responses: how many colors are enough?

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  • 1ImmunoTechnology Section, Vaccine Research Center, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The past 5 years have seen an explosion in technological advances related to measuring immunogenicity. Specifically, two distinct areas of development have led to considerably more detailed analysis of T cell responses: first, the ability to measure over a dozen distinct antigens expressed by individual cells simultaneously (12-color flow cytometry); and second, a host of assays that rapidly and viably identify antigen-specific T cells. Together, these technologies reveal the complex heterogeneity of an immune response generated during infection or after vaccine challenge. The next 5 years will see the determination of which underlying variables will be most important to quantifying vaccine efficacy. In this manuscript, we discuss these technologies, with a focus on assisting in the design and implementation of immunogenicity trials for future vaccine efforts.

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