Optimizing T cell expansion in vitro for cancer immunotherapy

Raised of $10,400 Goal
Ended on 2/21/23
Campaign Ended
  • $226
  • 3%
  • Finished
    on 2/21/23

About This Project

T cells are fundamental to kill cancer cells. "Killer" T cells can do this directly, by recognizing tumor-specific mutated proteins on the surface of cancer cells. "Helper" T cells assist in the rejection of cancer by activating and guiding other immune cells to kill tumor cells. Inside the tumor, several immunosuppressive factors prevent T cells from functioning normally. We want to understand how to manipulate T cells to overcome this immunosuppression.

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What is the context of this research?

This project is the first step of a larger effort to understand how to manipulate T cells to become resistant to immunosuppression. Ultimately, we want to be able to isolate cells, modify and expand them in vitro for a certain amount of time, and then inject them back into mice with tumors. If our manipulation of the T cells is sucessful, the modified T cells should be able to fight tumors better than what they normally would.

What is the significance of this project?

In vitro manipulation of T cells and expansion is difficult because the conditions to expand the cells are not well established. T cells are remarkably plastic and there is always a fine balance between expansion, survival, and function. With this funding proposal, we want to establish the best conditions to expand T cells, so that we can use this protocol in future experiments aiming to generate tumor-killing T cells.

What are the goals of the project?

The goal is to understand for how long (days? weeks? months?) and how many times (10x, 100x, 1000x, 10000x?) we can expand T cells. We also want to understand what culture conditions (different cytokines, different culture media, different culture times, etc) allow us to expand T cells that remain functional, alive, and capable to produce cytokines necessary to promote an anti-tumor immune response.


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We want to isolate T cells from mice, which will be expanded in vitro. Magnetic enrichment kits are used to quickly isolate T cells from bulk populations to a very high purity (>95%). Antibodies are used both to activate the T cells in vitro (necessary for them to grow and divide) and to measure the expression of important proteins in the cells. By using antibodies conjugated to fluorochromes and fluorescent dyes, we can analyze these cells by flow cytometry and understand if they are behaving as we expect them to, whether they are alive and dividing, and if they retain pro-inflammatory characteristics. Cytokines, culture media and supplements, plasticware, will be used to grow the cells in vitro inside an incubator. Finally, this part of the project will be performed by a biology student with a bachelor's degree. She is taking her first steps in research as part of her studies and I would love to be able to provide her a small fellowship to do so.

Endorsed by

Optimising such protocols (like the one mentioned in this project) is a time consuming activity, but once achieved it will lay the fundamentals for further research! The project presented here is simple and requires a lot of time. It's a perfect project to ask for assistance via this platform.

Project Timeline

We believe that 6-8 months should be sufficient to optimize the culture conditions necessary to move on to the next steps. The student can start working in January/February and the materials should arrive within 1-2 months.

Dec 30, 2022

Best culture conditions for Helper T cells

Jan 07, 2023

Project Launched

Sep 30, 2023

Best culture conditions for Killer T cells

Meet the Team

Luis Almeida
Luis Almeida

Luis Almeida

I am a Biochemist who has a PhD in Molecular Medicine. Since 2016, I have been working with immune cells and their role in disease, with a strong focus on metabolism. In addition to that work, I am also interested in ways to manipulate T cells in a context of tumor immunology.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

This is the first time we attempt to seek funding from a crowdfunding platform. If sucessful, we would be more than happy to seek funding for the next steps of the project and provide the rational along with updates along the way!

Project Backers

  • 4Backers
  • 3%Funded
  • $226Total Donations
  • $56.50Average Donation
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