Optofluidic Platform to Aide in Immunotherapy Development

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Pharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletter

In the Lab eNewsletter, Pharmaceutical Technology\'s In the Lab eNewsletter-07-02-2019, Volume 14, Issue 7

The new platform from Berkeley Lights allows scientists to more easily analyze large numbers of cells in a short period of time.

The new Lightning optofluidic platform from Berkeley Lights, a digital cell biology company, can directly visualize the phenotype and function of thousands of T cells in days, which can help scientists address challenges in developing cancer immunotherapies.

Progress in understanding immune cell function, particularly in the context of cancer, has been slow over the last decade, despite advancements in research. This has been due to the time-consuming process of identifying immune cell functional signatures, according to the company.

The Lightning platform allows scientists to easily visualize phenotype and perform functional analysis on hundreds to thousands of individual cells simultaneously on a single platform in just a few days. Using Berkeley Lights’ proprietary optofluidic technology, individual T cells can be loaded into NanoPen chambers with other cell types to assess cell-cell interactions, cell surface phenotype, cytotoxicity, and cytokine secretion, which yields a more detailed picture of individual cell function within a population.

The entire process is digitally recorded for visual confirmation of results and on-instrument data analysis. The platform is also designed to overcome one of the major hurdles to most existing cellular assays-destruction of the cell during analysis-by enabling scientists to recover live cells after completion of functional assays.

“Analysis of T-cell function has largely been based on assessing the activity of an entire population of cells, which reduces the resolution of our results,” said Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a press release. “Deeper insights are needed to let us see differences that enable us to draw more informed conclusions about T-cell function. This will improve our understanding of cancer immunotherapeutics.”


“With the new Lightning platform, scientists across the research and development pipeline, from academia to top pharmaceutical companies, can more precisely and quickly design, build, and test new assays to uncover the function of T cells, speeding their efforts to improve cancer immunotherapies,” said Eric Hobbs, CEO at Berkeley Lights, in the press release “Lightning is an agile desktop platform built for scientists who push the boundaries of individual cell analysis, and we believe this is a key step in our goal of democratizing digital cell biology.”

The product was showcased at the 34th Congress of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry, CYTO 2019 Congress in Vancouver, Canada, from June 22–26.

Source: Berkeley Lights