The medical fraternity has been looking for viable and more effective ways to help cancer patients for years, and immunotherapy has emerged as an excellent treatment option. For the uninitiated, immunotherapy is an effective cancer treatment that harnesses the power of the patient’s immunity system, helping it fight cancer cells. The therapy enhances the body’s immune system’s ability to identify and attack cancer cells.

There are numerous types of immunotherapies, like adoptive cell transfer, monoclonal antibodies, cancer vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors, etc. Although the past treatments have shown remarkable results, how do you determine the immunotherapy potency in your case? It is a question being discussed a lot in recent days. To conduct an immunotherapy assay, you can turn to various ways. This article covers the top ways professionals use to measure immunotherapy potency. If you want to learn more about it, let’s explore the points discussed below.

  • Chromium Release Assays

The Chromium Release Assay has been used since 1968 and is regarded as the most reliable method for assessing the cytotoxicity of adoptive cell therapies. In this method, tumor cells or other target cells are loaded with radioactive chromium isotopes. It is then exposed to active CAR-T cells. This assay is now common, but certain laboratories are shifting away to more sensitive assays.

After keeping it in the incubation period, professionals then study the cell culture medium to detect radioactive signals. The strength of this radioactive signal is directly linked and proportional to the total number of target cells destroyed. Although this method is limited by its nature, it is still effective in measuring immunotherapy assay to a certain extent.

  • LDH Assays

LDH or lactate dehydrogenase available in all cells helps identify the magnitude of the treatment’s cytotoxicity. It is an effective method used for determining the immunotherapy’s potency, but it involves a complex protocol compared to other methods. Professionals quantify the LDH activities index to measure its levels. Lactate dehydrogenase converts lactate into pyruvate that later interacts with a tetrazolium salt to create a water-soluble red molecule.

Professionals correlate the concentration of this newly formed red molecule with the cell death level to understand the immunotherapy potency. Similar to chromium assay, even LDH assay measures cell death at one/single time point. Although this is a limitation of this method, it still does a decent job of analyzing the potency of immunotherapy.

  • Bioelectronic Assays

Also recognized as the latest generation cell viability assay, it solves numerous problems inherent to prior cell viability assays. This method/assay enables real-time and quantitative measurement of immune cells and the mediated tumor cell killing. Bioelectronic assays are conducted with a multiwell plate containing bioelectronics sensors at the well’s bottom. In this assay, professionals plate tumor cells attached to the electrodes and later try to impede the generated electrical signal. In the next stage, professionals add immune cells, watching how they kill and eliminate tumor cells.

As the tumor/cancer cells die and detach over time, recorded impedance decreases. It is a non-invasive method that lets professionals measure cell deaths quantitatively. The cell death kinetics and magnitude are simultaneously measured over numerous cell concentration ranges to help identify the treatment’s potency.

  • MTT Assays

Immunotherapy assay can be measured and analyzed using this technique. Professionals use tetrazolium salt MMT to study the cell viability’s proxy, i.e., mitochondrial metabolic rate. Professionals can analyze it using spectrophotometers if the mitochondrial enzymes enable MTT to form purple crystals. According to the thumb rule, the more intense the purple color, the higher the number of viable cells.

Professionals have long been using the MTT assay to study the cytotoxicity of immunotherapies. This inexpensive and easy-to-perform method does not use radiation, making it a safer potency evaluation method than chromium release assays and other methods.

  • Live-Cell Imaging

One of the rarest ways of measuring immunotherapy potency in real time is using live-cell imaging. Professionals can use this technique to monitor the cells over days and months in real time. This technique is helpful even in situations wherein it is relatively challenging to predict the timing of specific events like CAR-T cell kinetics. Even after having so many positives, this technique still has some limitations. This method monitors cells in culture using optical techniques. While conducting adoptive cell therapies, professionals plate tumor cells and strategically places engineered immune cells on the top.

Although the immune cells to be placed at the top can block the view of tumor cells, it is still less challenging to measure the cell killing reliably. Researchers use different colored dyes to differentiate two cell populations. This extra step can complicate the risk and protocol affecting the cell’s natural behavior. But trained eyes can still effectively look through the step to analyze the immunotherapy assay.

Measure the Potency of Immunotherapy with the Utmost Precision

Immunotherapy potency is the best way to determine a cancer treatment’s effectiveness. But how do you precisely measure the immunotherapy potency? Well, there are numerous methods, and the top, most effective techniques have been discussed above. Researchers use most of these methods to study the immunotherapy potency, so you can rely on all of them for accurate results.