T Cell Activation and Expansion

T cell activation by Gibco Dynabeads magnetic beads is the fastest growing method for many reasons:

  • Physiological activation
  • Highly consistent activation and expansion
  • No need for autologous Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs), mitogens, antigens, or feeder cells
  • Cytokine profile and a full T cell Receptors (TCR) repertoire is retained
  • Available for both human and mouse T cells
  • Method translates from mouse studies to human immunotherapy on the same platform

From the graph, we can see that methods such as those listed below are not used significantly more in 2018 than in 2012:

  • Generic mitogen-based T cell activation (home-brew),
  • Soluble and/or plate-bound antibodies,
  • Antigen presenting cells (APC’s) 

However, during this same period, publications citing the use of Dynabeads magnetic beads have increased dramatically.

2018 Publication Trend T Cell Activation
Published papers on T cell activation.

Unique Time-lapse Video of Dynabeads Activating T Cells

The Science Behind Nicole Gularte's Recovery from Leukemia using CAR-T Cell Therapy

Dynabeads T-Activator CD3/CD28 products for human and mouse are ideal for short time stimulation studies and T cell expansion of polyclonal T cells (e.g T cell subsets isolated from whole blood, mononuclear cells or tissue digests).

"I used the CD3/CD28 Dynabeads for my proliferation experiment, and the experiment worked beautifully!  I have been trying to get to work for a couple of months using soluble CD28/CD3, and it was just not happening. Dynabeads have definitely made my day!"
Lisa S. Thomas, Research Associate IV, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dynabeads T cell activation and expansion products mimic in vivo T cell activation from antigen-presenting cells (APCs)

The CD3 and CD28 antibodies on the Dynabeads surface simultaneously bind the CD3 and CD28 antigens on the target cells, thus initiating the signaling pathway. The antibodies are coupled onto 4.5 um sized beads (almost as large as APC’s), and this 3-dimentional structure enables activation very similar to the physiological activation happening in the body. The optimized antibody amount and the reproducibility of the product results in a more consistent activation versus more primitive options like mitogens or soluble antibodies.

The protocols are straightforward, highly consistent, and do not require autologous APC, mitogens, antigen or feeder cells. The Dynabeads technology outperforms traditional home-brew methods for generic activation and is highly cited in the peer reviewed publications. Importantly, you can even use the same technology platform when moving from mouse or human studies to clinical research.

Key Benefits

  • Ease-of-use: No need to prepare autologous APC, feeder cells, or antigen. No need to pre-coat antibodies to beads.
  • Physiological activation: Simultaneous signals with agonistic monoclonal antibodies to CD3/TCR and CD28.
  • Stimulate and re-stimulate: Release and remove the magnetic beads. Cells can be re-stimulated several times.
  • Reliability: Cells keep their functionality with a cytokine profile and a full T cell repertoire reflecting that of in vivo settings.

Main applications

The Dynabeads technology allows you to activate and/or expand naïve and memory T cells, T cell clones, regulatory T cells, NKT cells and CTLs from mouse and human samples.

The technology allows for the activation of T cells for signaling experiments (proteomics), T cell expansion, T helper cell differentiation (Th1, Th2, Th17), expansion of regulatory T cells and T cell activation for improved transduction efficiency of MNC/T cells. A clinical research grade version is also available, allowing you to move from mouse studies to clinical research using the same technology platform.

The main application for these products is T cell re-stimulation and expansion of antigen-specific (Ag-specific) T cells from cell lines, cell clones or freshly isolated/enriched Ag-specific T cells.

Key benefits:

  • Physiological activation: Stimulation of CD3/TCR, CD28 and CD137 with agonistic monoclonal antibodies
  • Efficiency: Increased expansion and survival of Ag-specific T cells
  • Reliability: T cells expanded with Dynabeads maintain Ag-specificity when tested in bioassays
  • Ease- of-use: No need to find or prepare donor matched APCs or antigen

To allow for expansion of human antigen-specific T cells, the Dynabeads are conjugated with anti-CD3, anti-CD28, and anti-CD137 antibodies. CD137 (4-1BB) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor family and agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies act as an activating co-stimulatory molecule especially important for effector/ memory T cells and promote the survival and proliferation of T lymphocytes. 

This technology allows you to activate and/or expand naïve and memory T cells, T cell clones, regulatory T cells, natural killer T (NKT) cells and cytoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) from mouse and human samples. A clinical research grade product is also available, allowing you to move from mouse studies to clinical research using the same technology platform.

The new Dynabeads T-Activator CD3/CD28/CD137 for expansion of human antigen-specific T cells are conjugated with anti-CD3, anti-CD28, and anti-CD137 antibodies. CD137 (4-1BB) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor family and agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies act as an activating co-stimulatory molecule especially important for effector/ memory T cells and promote the survival and proliferation of T lymphocytes.


The Dynabeads technology allows you to activate and/or expand naïve and memory T cells, T cell clones, regulatory T cells, NKT cells and CTLs from mouse and human samples.

Our full portfolio of products also include a clinical research grade version, allowing you to move from mouse studies to clinical research using the same technology platform.




Dynabeads T-Activator CD3/CD28 products for human and mouse are ideal for short time stimulation studies and T cell expansion of polyclonal T cells (e.g T cell subsets isolated from whole blood, mononuclear cells or tissue digests).

"I used the CD3/CD28 Dynabeads for my proliferation experiment, and the experiment worked beautifully!  I have been trying to get to work for a couple of months using soluble CD28/CD3, and it was just not happening. Dynabeads have definitely made my day!"
Lisa S. Thomas, Research Associate IV, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dynabeads T cell activation and expansion products mimic in vivo T cell activation from antigen-presenting cells (APCs)

The CD3 and CD28 antibodies on the Dynabeads surface simultaneously bind the CD3 and CD28 antigens on the target cells, thus initiating the signaling pathway. The antibodies are coupled onto 4.5 um sized beads (almost as large as APC’s), and this 3-dimentional structure enables activation very similar to the physiological activation happening in the body. The optimized antibody amount and the reproducibility of the product results in a more consistent activation versus more primitive options like mitogens or soluble antibodies.

The protocols are straightforward, highly consistent, and do not require autologous APC, mitogens, antigen or feeder cells. The Dynabeads technology outperforms traditional home-brew methods for generic activation and is highly cited in the peer reviewed publications. Importantly, you can even use the same technology platform when moving from mouse or human studies to clinical research.

Key Benefits

  • Ease-of-use: No need to prepare autologous APC, feeder cells, or antigen. No need to pre-coat antibodies to beads.
  • Physiological activation: Simultaneous signals with agonistic monoclonal antibodies to CD3/TCR and CD28.
  • Stimulate and re-stimulate: Release and remove the magnetic beads. Cells can be re-stimulated several times.
  • Reliability: Cells keep their functionality with a cytokine profile and a full T cell repertoire reflecting that of in vivo settings.

Main applications

The Dynabeads technology allows you to activate and/or expand naïve and memory T cells, T cell clones, regulatory T cells, NKT cells and CTLs from mouse and human samples.

The technology allows for the activation of T cells for signaling experiments (proteomics), T cell expansion, T helper cell differentiation (Th1, Th2, Th17), expansion of regulatory T cells and T cell activation for improved transduction efficiency of MNC/T cells. A clinical research grade version is also available, allowing you to move from mouse studies to clinical research using the same technology platform.

The main application for these products is T cell re-stimulation and expansion of antigen-specific (Ag-specific) T cells from cell lines, cell clones or freshly isolated/enriched Ag-specific T cells.

Key benefits:

  • Physiological activation: Stimulation of CD3/TCR, CD28 and CD137 with agonistic monoclonal antibodies
  • Efficiency: Increased expansion and survival of Ag-specific T cells
  • Reliability: T cells expanded with Dynabeads maintain Ag-specificity when tested in bioassays
  • Ease- of-use: No need to find or prepare donor matched APCs or antigen

To allow for expansion of human antigen-specific T cells, the Dynabeads are conjugated with anti-CD3, anti-CD28, and anti-CD137 antibodies. CD137 (4-1BB) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor family and agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies act as an activating co-stimulatory molecule especially important for effector/ memory T cells and promote the survival and proliferation of T lymphocytes. 

This technology allows you to activate and/or expand naïve and memory T cells, T cell clones, regulatory T cells, natural killer T (NKT) cells and cytoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) from mouse and human samples. A clinical research grade product is also available, allowing you to move from mouse studies to clinical research using the same technology platform.

The new Dynabeads T-Activator CD3/CD28/CD137 for expansion of human antigen-specific T cells are conjugated with anti-CD3, anti-CD28, and anti-CD137 antibodies. CD137 (4-1BB) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor family and agonistic anti-CD137 antibodies act as an activating co-stimulatory molecule especially important for effector/ memory T cells and promote the survival and proliferation of T lymphocytes.


The Dynabeads technology allows you to activate and/or expand naïve and memory T cells, T cell clones, regulatory T cells, NKT cells and CTLs from mouse and human samples.

Our full portfolio of products also include a clinical research grade version, allowing you to move from mouse studies to clinical research using the same technology platform.