Cellular analysis services
Applying cellular immunity assays to investigate your hypothesis
The immune-oncology revolution is here and so is the era of using manipulation of the cellular immunity as a treatment. The development of new immune therapeutic drugs is increasing every year in both broadness and potential market value, and the value of cellular immunity testing is increasing with the same speed. Behind every immunomodulatory treatment is at least one hypothesis on the underlying cellular immunity mode-of-action for the expected clinical benefit. In general terms immunomodulatory treatments can be divided in two parts: the ones aiming a manipulating on the effector side of the immune system, e.g. in cancer to stimulate tumor-specific cytotoxic CD8 T cells and the ones aiming at manipulating the suppressor cell populations, e.g. in cancer to inhibit the regulatory T cells.
New anti-cancer treatment are always evaluated by determining the effect on size or spread on the tumor, whether in pre-clinical mouse models or in patients in clinical trials. Not always, however, proper corresponding cellular immunity assays are performed to elucidate whether the initial hypothesis was right. This is of utmost importance to do!
The complexity of the immune system with multiple feedback mechanisms means there can be several combinations of failed or confirmed hypotheses in regard to impact on the cellular immunity along with clinical benefit or not. In other terms, it may be that the expected impact on cellular immunity occurs, so confirming the initial hypothesis, while at the same time no or only small effects can be seen clinically on the tumor scanning, due to for instance a very suppressive tumor microenvironment. Also other modes-of-action on the cellular immunity can happen while giving rise to the expected clinical benefit. Such mode-of-action studies are best done using cellular immunity assays, preferably with single-cell resolution in order to link together a given cytokine profile with the phenotype of the cells secreting the cytokines.
Although the immune-oncology revolution is here with several approved drugs already on the market, still a huge amount of the metastatic patients have no benefit of the available treatments. Therefore there is a huge interest on combination treatments to target the tumor cells from multiple sides, e.g. by combining the rather unspecific effect of an anti-PD-1 antibody (e.g. Keytruda/Pembrolizumab or Opdivo/Nivolumab) with a peptide vaccine aimed at specifically targeting defined tumor-associated antigen-specific T cell populations. Such combinations can only be done properly if one knows the exact mode-of-action of the drugs in question. This can be obtained by applying detailed cellular analysis assays as part of the pre-clinical and clinical work.
ImmuMap offers a broad spectrum of cellular immunity assays to help you getting mode-of-action cellular immunity knowledge needed to take the right decisions through pre-clinical and clinical development. Finally, as the whole field move along it seems more and more mode-of-action knowledge will be required by the regulatory authorities in order to get approval for new clinical studies and marketing.