31 January 2022

Selection of the strongest

Researchers from Northwestern University have developed a new method of selecting immune cells for a quick and effective fight against cancer, which led to a sharp reduction in tumors in mice compared to known methods of immunotherapy. Using a new microfluidic device that can be created on a 3D printer, the group multiplied, sorted and collected hundreds of millions of active cells.

Using the tissues of one's own body to treat diseases helps to reduce undesirable effects and the risk of rejection, and many methods in regenerative medicine and cancer treatment have become widespread in clinical practice. But the problem is that due to the complexity of cell selection, such therapy has limited indications and works in a very small number of patients.

The researchers' attention was focused on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (tumor–infiltrating lymphocytes, TIL) - immune cells capable of penetrating tumor tissue and directly attacking cancer cells. But for the cell therapy of tumors used today in clinical practice, a mixture of "depleted" and "inexperienced" cells is used. After taking a patient's tumor sample, TIL are out of the body for a long time, and by the time they are ready to return, many of them are exhausted and have lost the ability to fight.

Selection of the best fighters

Using a new technology of microfluidic affinity for infiltrating cells (microfluidic affinity targeting of infiltrating cells, MATIC), researchers can accurately identify and sort the most active cells that can then be introduced into the body.

The tunable microfluidic device can effectively restore powerful TIL from solid tumors using specific levels of marker expression on the surface of target cells. The device, surrounded by magnets, uses a magnetic field and fluid resistance forces to sort cells pre-labeled with magnetic nanoparticles with antibodies for target markers. Compared to conventional cell sorting, immunomagnetic sorting restored 30 times the amount of TIL, and also made it possible to identify and isolate powerful TIL subpopulations that are specific to tumors, self-repair and are necessary for the long-term effect of cell therapy.

In this study, scientists tested MATIC on mouse models. The size of tumors in animals decreased dramatically, and in some mice they completely disappeared, which led to a significant improvement in survival rates compared to traditional methods of cell therapy.

Reproducible and affordable technology

The new technology is easily reproducible, in hospital conditions, you can use a 3D printer to create a device. This will make cell therapy closer to patients and significantly reduce treatment costs and, ultimately, increase survival.

Now the authors are working on creating a device for searching for TIL in blood samples, which will eliminate the need for sampling a tumor fragment to prepare for cell therapy.

Article Z.Wang et al. Efficient recovery of potential tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes through quantitative immunomagnetic cell sorting is published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Aminat Adzhieva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of Northwestern University: Tumors dramatically shrink with new approach to cell therapy.

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