The research was led by Dr John Maher, senior lecturer in the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kings College London, and CSO at Leucid Bio, in collaboration with biotech company, Lumicks; it was published in the February 2022 issue of Frontiers in Immunology.
The paper describes a new Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy that adds a second receptor, enhancing the ability of the CAR T-cell to target and destroy specific cancer cells in pre-clinical models. The genetic edits provide new promise in improving its effectiveness as an immunotherapy for cancer, said the authors.
Testing binding strength
Dr Maher and his colleagues were able to utilize the z-Movi Cell Avidity Analyzer as part of their collaboration with Lumicks. The analyzer measures avidity: the strength of binding between the antibody and the antigen on its target. The authors used the technology to measure the strength of binding between the CAR T-cell and the target cancer cells.
Using that analytical instrument, Dr Maher said the researchers could easily find the ‘goldilocks’ CARs that do not bind too strongly or too weakly to the target cells and show superior killing in pre-clinical models. “New insights obtained using cell avidity measurements can really help improve the way we design cell therapies,” he added.
First introduced in 2020, the z-Movi has been used in both academic and biopharma laboratories globally, according to Lumicks. Andrea Candelli, CSO at that Dutch life sciences company, said the study provides “additional evidence of the critical role that measuring cell avidity plays in uncovering and optimizing CAR T cells in making immunotherapy more effective.”
Dr Maher’s group is hoping to design CAR T-cell therapy for solid tumors. CAR T-cells are currently offered as treatments for blood cancers on the NHS.