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Tracking antigen specific T-cells: Technological advancement and limitations

Dey, Shuvashis, Kamil Reza, K., Wuethrich, Alain, Korbie, Darren, Ibn Sina, Abu Ali, Trau, Matt
Biotechnology advances 2019 v.37 no.1 pp. 145-153
T-lymphocytes, antigens, biochemical compounds, flow cytometry, immune response, microarray technology, monitoring, patients
Assessing T-cell mediated immune status can help to understand the body's response to disease and also provide essential diagnostic information. However, detection and characterization of immune response are challenging due to the rarity of signature biomolecules in biological fluid and require highly sensitive and specific assay technique for the analysis. Until now, several techniques spanning from flow cytometry to microsensors have been developed or under investigation for T-cell mediated immune response monitoring. Most of the current assays are designed to estimate average immune responses, i.e., total functional protein analysis and detection of total T-cells irrespective of their antigen specificity. Although potential, immune response analysis without detecting and characterizing the rare subset of T-cell population could lead to over or underestimation of patient's immune status. Addressing this limitation, recently a number of technological advancements in biosensing have been developed for this. The potential of simple and precise micro-technologies including microarray and microfluidic platforms for assessing antigen-specific T-cells will be highlighted in this review, together with a discussion on existing challenges and future aspects of immune-sensor development.