Monocyte Activation Test – MAT - A Joint Workshop of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) and ECA

Monocyte Activation Test – MAT - A Joint Workshop of the
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) and ECA

Frankfurt/Langen, Germany

Seminar Nr. 15500


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Tel.: 06221 / 84 44 0 E-Mail:


Speakers from Authorities:

Dr Klaus Cussler, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Germany

Dr Don Singer, USP, USA

Dr Ingo Spreitzer, PEI, Germany

Dr Karin Nordgren, NIBSC

Speakers from Industry and Science:

Kristin Kowalick, Labor L+S AG, Germany

Dr Anja Fritsch, Confarma, France

Dr Katarzyna Marciniak-Darmochwal, Charles River Laboratories, Ireland

Dipl Ing Maike Piehler, Microcoat, Germany

Dr Astrid Visser, Sanquin, The Netherlands

Dr Walter Zwisler, Zwisler Laboratory, Germany


The first workshop on MAT was held at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute on 22 November 1999, so to say in the last Millennium. This was my first visit to the PEI (still working on my PhD thesis in Constance), the icy weather caused many accidents and obstacles on the road.

Since then we have seen a lot of obstacles hindering the widespread implementation of the MAT, although during the last 17 years an enormous effort and progress was achieved by several esteemed partners within the community.

The European validations (together with ECCVAM) were finalized and accepted successfully. With continuous support by the German Pharmacopeia, the EDQM MAT Expert group was re-established and finally the MAT Monograph 2.6.30. was implemented into the European Pharmacopeia in 2010. Meanwhile, the EDQM performed an MAT survey to improve the MAT monograph. The BET Guideline 5.1.10. and the Rabbit Pyrogen Test (RPT) monograph 2.6.8. have been revised to clarify the priorisation of the MAT compared to the RPT (especially in regard to the EU Directive 2010/63). Furthermore, the microbial safety unit at the PEI discontinued the RPT at the end of 2014, thus highlighting the significance of the MAT.

In a series of workshops and conferences MAT experts shared their thoughts with those who were interested and/or affected by these developments.

Finally, after more than 20 years, we have reached a point where we have to do what we worked for all the time: Replacing a good and predictive animal test with an even better alternative method.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide the participants with guidance and support for the upcoming changes, a vision which both the PEI and the ECA share. Experts from Authority, Industry and Contract Laboratories will provide insight into their experiences with the implementation of MAT.

With best regards,
Dr Ingo Spreitzer, PEI


During recent years manifold advances have taken place to replace both Rabbit Pyrogen Test (RPT) and Limulus Amebocyte Lysate Test (LAL).

Some of the reasons are:
Animal experiments have to be reduced. Especially with the current EU Regulations. Also the LAL test is not a true in vitro test.
Get an alternative Test, where the classic LAL shows some gaps, e.g. Contamination of biologicals by non-endotoxin pyrogens not detectable in LAL test is not unlikely.
LAL reagent has to be harvested from Horseshoe Crabs. An environmental or an ecological disaster could extinguish the Limulus population.

True In-vitro Pyrogen Tests (IVPT) have been developed in several European countries (United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany) in national and international research projects. The tests imitate the central step of human fever reaction, i.e. the activation of human monocytes by endotoxin as well as non-endotoxin pyrogens. One result of all these activities is the Monocyte Activation Test (MAT).

This unique event is jointly organised by the Paul Ehrlich-Institut – Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines and the ECA Academy to bring together European industry and regulatory representatives in order to discuss the practical experiences in using MAT, the advantages, the pitfalls, the available systems as well as the regulatory experiences.

Target Group

This workshop is addressed to all persons of pharmaceutical manufacturers, biopharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, contract laboratories, tissue establishments, and authorities who are involved in Endotoxin- and Pyrogen Testing in development, IPC or release.


Current Developments on MAT

  • Drivers for MAT-related pharmacopeial changes: Users and EU-Directive
  • The interaction of 5.1.10., 2.6.8. and 2.6.30.
  • MAT availability
  • PEI position on MAT
USP Requirements and Regulatory Thinking
  • Current Regulatory Background
  • Expected Developments
Implementation of Alternatives to Animal Safety
  • History – the Issue of solving Salvarsan “Sodium Chloride/Water Fever”
  • Development of JEG 3R (replacement, reduction, refinement)
MAT – pitfalls and lessons learned
  • MAT - one test various test procedures
  • Pros & cons from the perspective of a contract laboratory
  • Critical aspects of the test
  • Blood source
  • Realization of the Ph.Eur. requirements: 4 Replicates, LOD
  • Summary: Points to consider for the routine use of MAT
MAT using cryopreserved pooled PBMCs
  • MAT as pyrogen test
  • Characteristics and Performance of MAT assay of Sanquin
  • Examples of validation and drug release testing of plasma derived products
  • Critical aspects and tips for performing MAT
MAT use for Medical Devices
  • Medical Devices vs pharmaceutical samples
  • Pooled human cryoblood experience
MAT Testing with Monomac6 Cell Line
  • Advantages of performing the MAT in a routine Laboratory using a cell line
  • Assay characteristics
  • Experiences with validations and routine testing
Experiences with MAT
  • Evaluation of a one-step MAT assay
  • Feasibility data using various pyrogen
  • Validation concept for MAT as a generic pyrogen test
MAT Batch release of modern vaccines
  • OMV-based vaccines and pyrogen testing
  • MAT-approach for batch release
Overcoming the Challenges in Establishing Routine MAT Assay
  • The MAT assay and testing of different sample/product types
  • A look at the types of interference that may be seen with the assay
  • Controlling the robustness of the MAT assay


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