Skip to main content

Volume 17 Supplement 4

Sepsis 2013

Development of a new monoclonal antibody-based point-of-care testing assay for the quantification of procalcitonin in whole blood for a rapid sepsis diagnostic


After recent studies of the BMBF (SepNet), sepsis causes about 150 deaths per day in Germany, making it the third leading cause of death in Germany. In acute sepsis, rapid diagnosis and rapid medication is crucial. Both as a reliable parameter for diagnosis of sepsis and for guiding the antibiotic therapy, procalcitonin (PCT) is a very sensitive available biomarker [1] and is recommended in the current guidelines [2] to be quantified under sepsis suspicion. Although there are a couple of commercially available fast analytical devices for the quantification of PCT, none of these devices completely fulfill all requirements for a point-of-care testing (POCT) device which are: bedside testing; no sample preparation (whole blood testing); simple handling with ready-to-use and single-use cartridges; and short turnaround time between analysis and medical treatment in the clinical necessary concentration range. Whereas most devices fulfill the latter requirements they are still too big for bedside testing or cannot handle whole blood.

Materials and methods

Based on newly developed monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) [3], a fast and sensitive immunoassay for the quantification of PCT in whole blood was developed and transferred to a commercially developed (not available on market) POCT device (respons®IQ) from pes diagnosesysteme GmbH.


With the new developed mAbs the achieved limit of detection for PCT in plasma and whole blood is 0.04 ng/ml and 0.05 ng/ml respectively, which is within the clinical necessary range (<0.05 ng/ml). The now established assay shows high reproducibility within 9 minutes, independent of different plasma samples due to the selection of suitable additive compounds. In a first set of leftover patient samples, the PCT-POCT assay showed good correlation (R2 = 0.988, n = 14, m = 2) with the state-of-the-art technology Kryptor (BRAHMs) (D Rascher, M Rieger, HMGU, AMP, unpublished data). Moreover, in cooperation with Dr A Geerlof (HMGU), human recombinant PCT (hrPCT) was produced in two biological and clinical relevant forms (amino acids 1 to 116 and 3 to 116) in high amounts and high purity (A Geerlof, D Rascher, M Rieger, unpublished data). This hrPCT will replace expensive (5 k$/mg) and batch-to-batch varying commercial available hrPCTs as standard reference material.


The assay shown here for the quantification of PCT fulfils all requirements for POCT. Within 9 minutes, PCT can be quantified near the patient's bed in whole blood without sample preparation.


  1. Wacker C, Prkno A, Brunkhorst FM, Schlattmann P: Procalcitonin as a diagnostic marker for sepsis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis 2013, 13: 426-435. 10.1016/S1473-3099(12)70323-7

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bone RC, Balk RA, Cerra FB, Dellinger RP, Fein AM, Knaus WA, Schein RM, Sibbald WJ, ACCP/SCCM Consensus Conference Committee: Definitions for sepsis and organ failure and guidelines for the use of innovative therapies in sepsis. The ACCP/SCCM Consensus Conference Committee. American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine. 1992. Chest 2009,136(5 Suppl):e28.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Kremmer E, Meyer K, Graesser FA, Flatley A, Koesters M, Luppa PB, Kraemer PM: A new strategy for the development of monoclonal antibodies for the determination of human procalcitonin in serum samples. Anal Bioanal Chem 2012, 402: 989-995. 10.1007/s00216-011-5475-4

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank Dr A Geerlof (HMGU) for producing recombinant PCT, Dr E Kremmer (HMGu) for producing the mAbs and Dr P Miethe from the Forschungszentrum für Medizintechnik und Biotechnologie (fzmb GmbH) for the delivery of the patient plasma samples.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rieger, M., Rascher, D. & Hartmann, A. Development of a new monoclonal antibody-based point-of-care testing assay for the quantification of procalcitonin in whole blood for a rapid sepsis diagnostic. Crit Care 17 (Suppl 4), P13 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Standard Reference Material
  • Procalcitonin
  • Turnaround Time
  • Rapid Diagnosis
  • Reliable Parameter