CMaT Constructs Tissue Chips to Assess CAR-T Cell Quality in Fighting Cancer

Achievement date: 

Researchers with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, have developed tissue chips that can more quickly evaluate chimeric antigen receptors (CAR)-T cell potency against multiple myeloma (MM) and glioblastoma cancers. The engineered tissue chips integrate label-freeimpedance and optical metabolic imaging (OMI)—a non-invasive, high-resolution, quantitative tool for improved monitoring of T cell activation and cytolysis.


Genetically engineered CAR T-cell therapies show promise for treating multiple myeloma (MM) and glioblastoma cancers by allowing for more specific recognition of antigens and T-cell signaling domains. The tissue cells developed by CMaT researchers will therefore help to assure more consistent, scalable and low-cost production of high-quality living therapeutic cells for such cancers.


CMaT’s tissue chips are compatible with next-generation CRISPR-Cas9 genome edited CAR-T cell products as well as patient-derived tumor cells. Initial testing revealed a label-free glioblastoma cell coculture assay can easily detect the killing of target cancer cells by CAR-T cells. The genome edited cells (NV) killed more quickly than the retroviral CAR-T cells (RV). Findings from the study by CMaT researchers Walsh and Mueller were published in Nature Biomedical Engineering in 2020.