Immuno-Oncology Research Using Flow Cytometry

Flow cytometry services are a powerful analytical tool used to visualize different immune cell (sub)populations in peripheral blood, organs and other tissues. It can also be used as a read out in in vitro studies and/or to screen cells and cell lines for expression of different biomarkers. By using fluorescence labeled antibodies which target specific surface or intracellular proteins, flow cytometry services emphasize information about cell populations within a certain tissue or organ. Additionally, it can provide meaningful insight on signaling events between cell types.

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Charles River Laboratories mainly offers multiplex flow cytometry services for oncological in vivo studies where this method is used as an additional readout to assess the immune response in tumors for therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors, BiTes, therapeutic T cells, or other immune manipulating compounds/drugs. An abundance of information can be acquired during a study by minimally invasive withdrawal of peripheral blood at different time points during the study or terminal analysis/examination of organs or tumor.

Flow cytometry services as part of an immuno-oncology study

Immunophenotyping? Get Better Cell Recovery, Without the Centrifuge

Learn from Dr. Christoph Eberle, as he describes how his team isolates T-cells for adoptive transfer and prepare tumor model tissue samples for the collection of robust immunophenotype characterization data.

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Most relevant models, where flow cytometry services are used as an additional readout beside tumor volumes, are syngeneic models and humanized model studies. However, the immune cell populations may differ between mouse strains, models, and histotypes. Our range of fully profiled models continues to grow as we provide our clients with the most advanced platform to launch their studies. Our validation parameters include assessment of response to known immune checkpoint inhibitors CTLA-4, PD-1, and PDL-1 to assist in proper selection for combination therapies.

Flow Cytometry Services: Analysis and Profiling

After careful tissue processing, cell isolation, staining, and data acquisition on state-of-the-art analyzers at our oncology sites, results are displayed and summarized with specific software (e.g., FlowJo). Along with the analysis, we provide a gating strategy, allowing identification of various cell populations and deep interrogation of an immune response elicited from novel therapeutics or marker expression changed by treatment.

Our expert staff have developed and validated panels of flow assays for identification and profiling of several relevant immune cells, such as CD4+ and CD8+ effector T cells, helper and regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells.

Additionally, we routinely develop customized panels to identify specific immune cells critical to a particular program. Especially for humanized PDX studies, examination of the different human immune cell populations is recommended due to variations of subpopulation in different models. Some of the models we provide include huPBMC, and 1st and 2nd generation mice humanized with CD34+ cells.

Any of the flow cytometry oncology panels, standard or custom, measured in combination with traditional biomarkers and other endpoints tailored to the program, build a complete data package to drive decision-making.

An example of a comprehensive flow cytometry analysis can be found below.

Profile Immune Cell Populations by Flow Cytometry

A flow plot showing immune specific cell staining and gating strategies in a flow cytometry oncology study.

Figure 1: In this example of our flow cytometry services, immune cell-specific staining and gating strategies enable us to quantify the populations of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, regulatory T cells, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

Flow Cytometry Oncology Services

High-throughput multiplex flow cytometry is an empowering platform to allow phenotyping of immune cell populations during and after therapy within your study. Together with tumor growth inhibition as another readout, flow cytometry oncology data unravels the effect of the therapeutic agent on the frequencies/distribution of cell populations, thereby allowing a good characterization of an immune-manipulating test substance. In-depth analysis helps drive development and progress science to clinic.

Benefit from Flow Cytometry Services


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Flow Cytometry Services

  • What is flow cytometry?

    Flow cytometry is a laboratory technique that detects and measures characteristics of certain cell populations or particles. The technology measures fluorescence associated with cells, using refracted or emitted light. In combination with immuno-oncology research, flow cytometry services achieve a comprehensive analysis of the immune system. Identification of various cell populations showcases the immune response elicited from novel therapeutics. Flow cytometry services add significant value to an in vitro or in vivo oncology study.

    Listen to the podcast on flow cytometry oncology studies for more information.

  • How important is sample preparation for flow cytometry services?

    Our Discovery site in Worcester, MA uses semi-automated flow cytometry sample preparation to efficiently characterize the tumor microenvironment for exploratory immunotherapies. Read our recent white paper co-authored with Curiox Biosystems to learn how removing the centrifuge can support your research, detailing specifics of optimizing tumor infiltrating leukocyte (TIL) sample preparation from preclinical models for flow cytometry oncology studies.

  • How can Flow cytometry services support in vivo models?

    In addition to supporting syngeneic models and PDX models, flow cytometry services can be used for confirming humanization of our CD34+ humanized mice and PBMC humanized mice. Our services provide valuable information regarding immune modulation for immuno-oncology research projects.