Assessment of chimeric antigen receptor T cytotoxicity by droplet microfluidics in vitro

Read the full article See related articles


Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells are cytotoxic T cells engineered to specifically kill cancer cells expressing specific target receptor(s). Prior CAR-T efficacy tests include CAR expression analysis by qPCR or ELISA, in vitro measurement of interferon-γ (IFNγ) or interleukin-2 (IL-2), and xenograft models. However, the in vitro measurements did not reflect CAR-T cytotoxicity, whereas xenograft models are low throughput and costly. Here, we presented a robust in vitro droplet microfluidic assay for CAR-T cytotoxicity assessment. This method not only enabled assessment of CAR-T cytotoxic activity under different fluid viscosity conditions, but also facilitated measurement of CAR-T expansion and dissection of mechanism of action via phenotype analysis in vitro. Furthermore, our data suggested that label-free cytotoxicity analysis is feasible by acquiring data before and after treatment. Hence, this study presented a novel in vitro method for assessment of cellular cytotoxicity that could potentially be applied to any cytotoxicity experiment with varying solvent composition.

Article activity feed