While harnessing the patient’s immune system to fight cancer is not a new concept, there have been significant strides in the past decade to more effectively direct and activate components of the immune system and counter the measures certain tumors adopt to shield itself from immune attack. These include immunotherapeutic drugs based on directing immune cells to tumors based on specific antigens they present, PD-1 checkpoint inhibition and the ex vivo manipulation of the patient’s own immune cells to better drive an immune response to cancer.
Research efforts are on-going to increase our capabilities to fight cancer with our immune systems and BioTek’s instruments enable a number of these workflows including
- Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytoxicity (ADCC) and biomarker assays using a variety of detection modes in our Multi-Mode readers
- Long term kinetic cytotoxicity 3D cell culture-based assays using BioSpa™ 8 in conjunction with the Cytation™ Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader
- MultiFlo™ FX with the Automated Media Exchange (AMX) module for cell seeding and gentle media exchanges suitable for automated T cell activation workflows and 3D spheroid assays.
Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity (ADCC) is part of a host immune defense where an effector cell of the immune system is directed to lyse a target cell or pathogen by specific antibodies raised against antigens on the target cell/pathogen surface. This principle is applied to in vitro assays using isolated and engineered immune cells.
Checkpoint Inhibitor and Cytokine Secretion Assays
Biomarker immunoassays are central to probing immune cell responses in vitro. This can involve surface antigens on both effector and target cells, cytokines secreted by effector cells and the phosphorylation state of kinases involved in cell signaling pathways.
Directed Activation of T Cells for Cytotoxicity Assays
Adoptive immunotherapy methods include direct activation of T cells by culturing them ex vivo in the presence of cancer target cells for extended periods. This multiday process can be automated using small footprint instrumentation.
3D Cytotoxicity Assays Using Immune Cells
Immune cells are cytotoxic lymphocytes found in peripheral blood that play a role in host defense and immune regulation. These include T and Natural Killer cells. T cells are particularly interesting in immunotherapy due to adoptive immunotherapy methods been developed that include the genetic manipulation of T cell antigens and also their direct activation ex vivo by exposure to cancer target cells in vitro.