how impedance-based assays help develop

Immuno-oncology represents a groundbreaking shift in cancer treatment by harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Unlike traditional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, which can damage healthy cells, immuno-oncology aims to enhance the immune system’s natural ability to detect and destroy cancer cells, offering a more targeted and potentially less toxic approach.

Main benefits of immuno-oncology treatment include targeted action, durable responses and combination potential. Immunotherapies specifically target cancer cells, reducing side effects and providing long-lasting protection by training the immune system to recognize and remember cancer cells, and can be combined with other treatments like chemotherapy and radiation for enhanced effectiveness.

In the context of developing immunotherapies, impedance assays are particularly useful for cell-based evaluation of their efficacy. For instance, they can be used to assess the killing capacity of engineered T cells (CAR T) or natural killer (NK) cells against tumor cells. As immune cells interact with and destroy cancer cells, the impedance signal decreases, allowing researchers to quantify the potency of the immune response in real-time.

Moreover, impedance-based assays can be employed to study novel immune checkpoint inhibitors, bispecific antibodies, T-cell engagers, cytokines, and other combinations of immunomodulatory agents. By monitoring changes in impedance over time, researchers can gain insights into how these therapies affect tumor cell growth and immune cell activation. This approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of an immunotherapy mechanism and efficacy compared to traditional endpoint assays.

The non-invasive nature of impedance measurements allows for continuous monitoring of cell populations over extended periods, capturing both rapid and long-term effects of immunotherapies. This feature is particularly valuable for studying the kinetics of immune responses and identifying optimal dosing strategies. Additionally, impedance assays can be easily scaled for high-throughput screening, facilitating the evaluation of multiple drug candidates or combination therapies.

Despite its promise, the development of immunotherapies faces challenges, including variable patient response rates and potential immune-related adverse events. Ongoing research aims to understand why some patients do not respond to immunotherapy and to develop strategies to overcome resistance. Impedance assays offer a powerful, label-free, and real-time approach to study various aspects of immune-oncology approaches and immune cell interactions, making them a valuable tool in cancer research.

Impedance measurements offer information on various aspects of cell behavior such as cell adherence, proliferation, cell-cell connections (tight junctions) or cell death. Cell-specific profiles of different growth and cell behavior patterns can be monitored label free and in real time. In addition, cytotoxicity can be continuously monitored, making the assay particularly suited to track the dynamics of cancer cell killing by immune cells (e.g. CAR T cells) or other biologics and compare relative potencies and time for killing.