Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Medical Devices
Medical Devices
Method and Device to Screen and Sort Cancer Immunotherapy Cells
WARF: P180292US02

Inventors: Melissa Skala, Alexandra Walsh

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing optical technology for sorting T cells by activation state. This non-invasive method uses the autofluorescence signals of NAD(P)H and FAD to determine T cell activation state without the use of contrast agents or requiring tissue/cell fixation.
A new cancer treatment being studied at a few major centers including UW Health is CAR T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell) therapy. CAR T therapy uses a patient's own cells and 'reengineers' them to fight cancer. The procedure starts with removing the patient's T cells from the blood and sending them to a lab where they are altered to produce cancer-fighting proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. These 'supercharged' or activated T cells are multiplied at the lab, and then shipped back to the hospital where they are reinjected into the patient's blood.

Determining T cell activation is imperative for studying these cells in vivo and for quality control of cell therapies like CAR T. Current methods to determine T cell activation (e.g., flow cytometry, cytokine release assay) are either invasive, requiring the use of contrast agents and possibly tissue/cell fixation, or cannot capture population heterogeneity.
The Invention
UW–Madison researchers have developed a highly accurate label-free method to non-invasively detect T cell activation by detection of free-NAD(P)H fraction, NAD(P)H α1. NAD(P)H α1 can be measured by fluorescence lifetime imaging or spectroscopy systems. The device could also sort T cells based on NAD(P)H α1. If increased accuracy of T cell activation is needed for a specific application, additional measurements of the other NAD(P)H and FAD autofluorescence endpoints can be obtained and used for classification.
  • Screening and sorting T cells
Key Benefits
  • Non-invasive and contrast agent-free
  • Classification accuracy exceeds 95 percent
Stage of Development
Most of the difference between the activated and not activated T cells comes from one feature, NAD(P)H α1. Using only this top feature, the classification accuracy is 97 percent. Accuracy increases to around 99 percent for the CD8 specific subset of T cells.
Additional Information
For More Information About the Inventors
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9846