Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL)-based immunotherapy is currently at the forefront of cutting-edge immuno-oncology treatments. TILs are a type of adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) using lymphocytes that are found within tumor tissues; most of these lymphocytes are T cells that can specifically target tumor cells. For TIL-based therapies, these T cells are harvested from a tumor biopsy, expanded ex vivo, and infused back into the patient. Advances in TIL-based therapies are driven by preclinical characterization and screening of TILs against a wide array of tumor types.
Adoptive cell therapies (ACTs) are being broadly tested and implemented in the treatment of a wide range of cancers, but the success of these therapies has been limited by the challenges of expanding cells of interest ex vivo. Most studies collect peripheral blood cells from a patient and expand, enrich or modify tumor-specific cells in a laboratory environment to create a blood product with tumor-targeting cells that can be reinfused into the patient. If the blood product is re-infused into the same patient, it is considered an autologous transplant, but if the cells originate from a different donor, it is considered an allogeneic transplant.
Advances in precision medicine have transformed treatments for many types of solid tumors, but similar treatment options have been more limited for hematologic oncology. Now, new ex vivo models are being developed that use patient-derived lymphoma or leukemia cells for screening experimental drugs or biologics. Therapeutic antibody screening is well-suited to these platforms and can inform preclinical research decisions as well as clinical care.