CRI Funded Scientists

Heike E. Daldrup-Link, MD, Technology Impact Award Grantee

Stanford University

Area of Research: All Cancers

CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy has shown promising results in patients with leukemia and lymphoma. However, therapy response in patients with solid tumors is highly variable. An imaging test, which could directly visualize CAR T-cells in patients would greatly improve our understanding of factors that lead to successful treatment outcomes. Immune cells can be labeled with iron oxide nanoparticles, which can be detected with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, thus far, it was required to incubate CAR T-cells with transfection agents, which are not approved for use in humans and demonstrate low efficiency for cell labeling with nanoparticles. Dr. Daldrup-Link has developed a new cell labeling technique, which is based on simple passage of therapeutic cells through a microfluidic device. The custom-designed microfluidic device contains ridges, which compress CAR T-cells during their device passage. Cell relaxation after compression stimulates uptake of nanoparticles by the cells. Dr. Daldrup-Link proposes to test the ability of this new microfluidics device to label CAR T-cells with clinically applicable nanoparticles such that the labeled cells can be tracked with MRI and magnetic particle imaging (MPI). Tracing nanoparticle-labeled CAR T-cells in vivo will enable Dr. Daldrup-Link to understand and optimize the tumor accumulation of CAR T-cells, prescribe tailored dosing regimen and develop appropriate combination therapies. Dr. Daldrup-Link’s new microfluidic device could represent a significant breakthrough for clinicians by enabling instant nanoparticle labeling of therapeutic CAR T-cells for in vivo tracking with medical clinical imaging technologies that are already used to monitor cancer therapy response in patients.

Projects and Grants

Mechanoporation creates new biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy

Stanford University | All Cancers | 2021

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