Protein and cell analysis tools for immuno-oncology research

Accelerating discoveries with immunoassays, imaging and flow cytometry

In the rapidly growing field of immuno-oncology an individual’s immune system is being employed as a new treatment modality to combat cancer. Success in discovery and development of immuno-oncology therapies relies on a knowledge of the underlying cellular mechanisms of the immune system and the tumor microenvironment. Analyzing proteins and cells in immuno-oncology research is critical for finding ways to improve the immune system’s overall ability destroy cancerous cells. Thermo Fisher Scientific enables these efforts through a broad catalog of protein and cellular analysis products and technologies.

What is immuno-oncology?

Immuno-oncology is the area of research that focuses on using an organism’s own immune system to fight cancer. It is a burgeoning field that has made remarkable progress in recent years through the discovery of new biological targets for therapeutic design. Predating immuno-oncology, traditional therapies for fighting cancer include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Traditional therapies however, are generally not adequately targeted to the site of disease. In contrast, immuno-oncology therapy, or cancer immunotherapy, is now demonstrating success in the direct targeting of cancer cells to improve the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Approaches to cancer immunotherapy include antibody biologics or modified immune cells, but both require an in-depth knowledge of the cellular interactions within the tumor microenvironment.

Tumor microenvironment

Therapeutic development is difficult because of the complexities within the tumor microenvironment. Investigation of inflammation, cellular trafficking, cell-to-cell interaction and associated signaling pathways during the progression of cancer is critical for identifying the best approach to cancer immunotherapy. Characterizing the tumor microenvironment and associated biomarkers has already helped to better diagnose and characterize disease and is instrumental in the success of identifying and developing new therapeutics.
Learn more about characterizing tumor microenvironment biomarkers

Immune checkpoint proteins

Many tumors have the ability to commandeer normal cellular processes to evade the immune system response. To do so, cancerous cells commonly interact directly with immune cells through specific proteins that result in the alteration of immune cell function. This class of proteins, known as immune checkpoint proteins, functions to regulate normal immune cell processes by serving as checkpoints of crucial pathways required for cell division and progression through the cell cycle. Interfering with a cancer cell’s ability to bind to an immune cell’s checkpoint protein has become a viable target for a new class of cancer therapeutics, referred to as antibody biotherapeutics.
Learn about immune checkpoint proteins and immune cell functionality

Adoptive cell therapy

While immune checkpoint proteins have improved the lives of many for those with very specific forms of cancer, off-target effects and associated cytotoxicity are still a problem, highlighting the need for more personalized approaches, such as adoptive cell therapy. An outcome of this research is the recent approval of genetically modified patient T cells, also known as CAR T cells, as treatments for certain cancers. This is an autologous form of adoptive immunotherapy and has set the precedent for other cellular approaches that target tumor-specific antigens.
Learn more about CAR T cell and other adoptive cell therapy workflows

Protein and cell analysis products for immuno-oncology research