Cytotoxic T cells are those cells of the immune system that are naturally destined to kill cells of the body that display an aberrant expression of antigens such as virus-infected cells and tumor cells. Their duty is based on two functions: find the pathogenic cell and kill it. Novel immune therapy approaches have armed cytotoxic T cells with special receptors, the so-called chimeric antigen receptors (CAR), that enables these cytotoxic T cells to efficiently kill their target, especially with regard to cancer cells. Several clinical studies on various types of cancer are currently ongoing.
Quantification of killing, the decision between life and death is easy to measure in a lab in order to verify the functionality of the CAR T cells. In contrast, movement of these cells towards a pathogenic cell – a process that we have termed as pathotaxis – is a gradual cell function that is very difficult to quantify. But if the CAR T cells don’t find their target, they cannot kill it. This vitally essential issue of inappropriate trafficking is addressed in this paper. MetaVi Labs is providing solutions to overcome these hurdles in pre-clinical research of CAR T cell immunotherapy and any other cell-based therapeutic approaches.