Christian Capitini receives grant to study potency of T cell therapies against cancer

Christian Capitini, MD

The National Cancer Institute recently granted Christian Capitini, MD, associate professor and chief, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant, an R01 award for his project, “Label-free Imaging of CAR T Cell Metabolism.” MPIs include Melissa Skala, PhD, investigator in the Morgridge Institute for Research and professor of biomedical engineering, and Kris Saha, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering. The team aims to develop non-invasive single-cell technologies to improve the potency of T cell therapies against cancer. To date, there are no robust, non-destructive technologies to monitor CAR T cell manufacturing to optimize production and assess potency in vivo at a single-cell level. These issues limit the impact of CAR T cell therapy. Changes in cell metabolism provide an attractive yet under-explored assay to track T cell potency. They propose to determine whether label-free optical metabolic imaging of T cell autofluorescence and multivariate models can identify patient T cell fitness, optimal in vitro expansion conditions, and in vivo cell biomarkers of potent and persistent CAR T cell response. Overall, these technologies will streamline processes and interventions for consistently potent T cell therapy and increase knowledge of CAR T cell metabolism in vitro and in vivo. The five-year award began on August 3, 2023, and is expected to total $3,246,989.