Cytokine activity you can rely on

Minimal activity, typical activity, or lot-specific activity – the biological activity of recombinant cytokines may be stated to different degrees of accuracy. Read through this page and find out which values you can rely on for accurate cost calculation.

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Specifications of biological activity

We provide the cytokines' biological activity in three different formats for you to achieve optimal dosing

The biological activity can be specified in three different formats. Depending on the context, all are useful – it is however very important to not confuse them with each other. Whenever possible, we provide these three parameters.

  • Minimal activity: The guaranteed activity for a specific cytokine product. The minimal activity is the value required to pass our quality control.
  • Typical activity: The activity that is usually achieved for a specific cytokine product. It is the average activity calculated over several lots.
  • Lot-specific activity: The activity of a specific cytokine production lot. For MACS® GMP Cytokines, this information is provided in the lot-specific product quality certificate.

Know which values to trust when calculating cytokine costs

Caveat:  Why you shouldn't use the minimal activity for cost calculation

The minimal activity is by definition lower than the typical activity of a cytokine. Often, these two values are significantly different. Thus, calculating the needed number of vials based on the stated minimal activity will almost always overestimate the costs associated with a project. Minimal activity should therefore only be used to calculate cytokine costs when no other activity parameter is available.

Stated minimal versus typical activity of MACS GMP Cytokines.

Cost calculation based on minimal activities often overestimate costs

The typical activity of MACS GMP Cytokines is on average 2.7× higher than the stated minimal activity. Calculating the necessary number of vials based on minimal activity will therefore considerably overestimate reagent costs.

Cost calculation based on stated minimal versus typical cytokine activities.

Tip: Typical activities result in more accurate cost calculations

A simple calculation shows the difference: In this example project, 1x107 IU MACS GMP IL-2 are required. Calculations based on the stated minimal activity estimate 100 vials needed versus 20 vials needed based on typical activities. In this specific example, cost calculation would be 80% overestimated when calculated based on minimal cytokine activities.

Caveat: Lot-specific versus typical activity

Cytokine dosing based on lot-specific biological activity alleviates challenges caused by batch-to-batch variations and will reduce experimental variability significantly. However, batch-to-batch variation can be problematic when managing supply chain, logistics, and expenditures.

For smaller projects using only a single batch of cytokine, calibrated lot-specific activity is the most accurate parameter on which to base cost calculations. However, in long-term projects where several different cytokine batches are consumed, batch-to-batch variations can result in varying cytokine costs. Therefore, for long-term projects not the lot-specific activity of one single cytokine batch, but rather the average lot-specific activity of multiple batches (the so called “typical activity”) is the optimal choice to calculate costs.

Cost calculation based on lot-specific cytokine activity.

Batch-to-batch variation can influence cost calculations based on lot-specific activity

The exemplary calculation shows that cost calculations based on the lot-specific activity of a batch with a lower-than-average activity (batch A) will result in overestimation of costs for a long-term project, in which cytokines of several production lots will be applied.

Typical activity is a good indicator of averaged lot-specific activities.

Tip: Typical activity results in more accurate cost calculations, especially for long-term projects

In long-term projects, cytokines from different batches might be purchased. As shown in the graph, the lot-specific activities of the different batches vary, while the cumulated average activity of all batches quickly converges with the stated typical activity.  The larger the project, the more exact the values derived from the typical activity will be. 

Tip: Aim for low batch-to-batch variabilities

Calculations using the stated typical activity will yield good estimations of total costs for long-term projects. However, at a single point in time or for smaller projects – when a cytokine lot with an activity that deviates from the typical activity is purchased – the costs can vary from the costs calculated using the typical activity.

These examples highlight, that overall, a low batch-to-batch variability is desirable. Although the total cytokine costs will be close to the costs calculated with the typical activity, a high batch-to-batch variability will result in a high fluctuation of cytokine costs over time.

Evaluate which supplier and product fits your project’s needs

To facilitate accurate cost calculations and to avoid large fluctuations in cytokine costs, both a realistic assumption of the typical activity of a specific cytokine and a low batch-to-batch variability is required. 
We at Miltenyi Biotec value your specific project needs. To offer maximal transparency, we are currently updating our product pages to give you the information you need to decide if MACS GMP Cytokines are the perfect choice for your project. We will display the typical biological activity on the product pages of MACS GMP Cytokines. This table below gives a first overview for selected cytokines.

Typical cytokine activity of MACS GMP Cytokines

CytokineActivity (IU or U/mg)

 Minimal and typical activity of selected MACS GMP Cytokines.

Batch-to-batch variation

Batch-to-batch variability of MACS GMP Cytokines

We will display representative data of the batch-to-batch variability and the historically observed activity range of our MACS GMP Cytokines on the respective product pages, whenever available.  This allows for better estimation of the biological activities to be expected. 

MACS GMP Cytokines offer a consistently low batch-to-batch variation. The graph gives an overview for selected cytokines. 

We support and value your decision. Choose the cytokines that fit your needs!

Download our application notes to get some background information and guidance on what to consider when choosing GMP-compliant cytokines that fit your purpose best.

Are you planning to compare cytokine products? Let our team of experts help you.

Cytokine testing can be a complicated and expensive process. If you need help, simply fill out the form below to get in contact with our cytokine experts. They will introduce you to the tricks which can help you to reduce costs and streamline the process.

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