Neoantigens are self-antigens that arise in tumor cells as a result of tumor-specific alterations commonly caused by genomic mutations. Due to their high immunogenicity and foreign nature, they have emerged as promising targets for cell-based cancer therapeutics. While advances in next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics technologies, and machine learning algorithms have greatly accelerated neoantigen prediction, only a small portion of the neoantigens predicted via these methods prove to be immunogenic.
After confirming the presence of an immunogenic neoantigen, additional challenges exist in identifying T cell receptors (TCRs) capable of recognizing these targets. This step represents a significant bottleneck in the process of translating neoantigens into viable targets for cell-based therapies.
To overcome these inefficiencies and accelerate the development of neoantigen-targeting cell-based therapies, advanced technologies and methods are needed. These should offer a more detailed understanding of the factors influencing TCR-pMHC interactions compared to traditional assays that depend on bulk samples.
Empowering Neoantigen Exploration and Targeting in Cancer Immunotherapy
In a recently published review in Frontiers in Immunology, researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin presented an overview of numerous strategies and single-cell technologies. These approaches, such as Bruker’s Beacon® Optofluidic platform, can empower researchers to overcome the challenges that exist in the development of neoantigen-targeting cell therapies.
The paper highlights how the Beacon® platform’s single-cell screening and multiplexing capabilities can be leveraged to interrogate and identify neoantigen-specific T cells. The Beacon® incorporates a novel integration of light-driven Opto-Electro-Positioning (OEP®) to enable selective cell cloning and cell culture capabilities. Additionally, the platform supports function-first assays, which can be leveraged to connect phenotypic, functional, genetic, and transcriptomic profiles to single neoantigen-reactive T cells.
This capability can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the role played by neoantigen-reactive cells in cancer immunotherapy. It sheds light on the interactions between cancer and immune cells, as well as the factors influencing T cell-mediated immune responses. Ultimately, this knowledge can guide the development of improved and potentially expedited approaches to cell-based cancer immunotherapies.
[block quote] “Integration of single cell technologies [such as the Beacon], propels cancer immunotherapy into a realm of precision and depth previously unattainable, promising a future where therapeutic strategies are finely tuned to each patient’s immune landscape.”
Illuminating the Future of Cancer Immunotherapy
As highlighted in the review, the unique capabilities of the Beacon® platform in single-cell screening can significantly streamline both the validation and discovery processes of T cell receptors (TCRs) and neoantigens. Simultaneously, this advanced technology contributes to a broader comprehension of intricate biological processes, shedding light on their pivotal role in shaping the landscape of cancer immunotherapies. The Beacon® platform’s unique features not only enhance the efficiency of identifying critical components but also offer valuable insights into the intricate mechanisms underlying cancer treatment development.
To learn more about how the Beacon® Optofluidic platform can empower your research, get in touch to speak with one of our optofluidic experts.