CAR-T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that uses T cells to kill cancer. If you work with these cells, you know that proper quality control is essential to maintaining their effectiveness.
For that, you can count on The Inish Analyser, an automatic cell counter capable of performing cell counting, viability, and transfection analysis with precision.
This article will look at the basics of CAR-T cells and how to analyze these cells to get the most out of your experiments.
CAR-T Cells Basics
As a life science researcher, you've undoubtably heard about CAR-T cells. Although research in this area has been going on for a long time, it was only recently that the first therapies using CAR-T were approved. Here, we'll review some concepts about this revolutionary technology.
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy is a revolutionary technique that can produce effective and durable clinical responses in cancer treatment, .
CARs are synthetic receptors containing, :
An extracellular antigen-binding domain – this portion is responsible for the target antigen specificity.
A hinge region – this portion provides flexibility and allows the antigen-binding domain to access the targeted epitope.
A transmembrane domain – this portion anchors the CAR to the T cell membrane and may influence the CAR-T cell's function.
One or more intracellular signaling domains – co-stimulatory domains have different functions. Overall, they help improve the CAR-T cell durability, persistence, and T cell response.
CAR's function is to redirect lymphocytes (mainly T cells) to recognize and eliminate cells expressing a particular target antigen. CARs binding to these target antigens is independent of the MCH receptor, resulting in a potent T cell activation, .
How Does CAR-T Therapy Works?
The first step in CAR-T therapy is to collect the patient's blood. Then, a technician isolates the T cells from the peripheral blood sample; this technique is called leukapheresis. After that, researchers insert the CAR gene into the cells using a vector. These CAR-T cells expand in the laboratory before they are reintroduced into the patient, .
In August 2017, the FDA approved a CAR-T cell-based therapy for the first time. The drug (Tisagenlecleucel) is used to treat patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (LLA), .
CAR-T cell therapy is currently used to treat blood cancers like multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and leukemia, .
But CAR-T cells are not restricted to cancer treatment. They could also be used to treat autoimmune diseases (e.g. Lupus Erythematosus), allergies, asthma, HIV, hepatitis, COVID-19, and many more, .