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ONI, UPenn Partner on Microscopy-Based CAR T-Cell Therapy Biomarker Research

NEW YORK – Oxford University spinout ONI said on Tuesday that it has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to better characterize CAR T-cell therapies and predict patient responses.

Within the collaboration, UPenn researchers will use ONI's super-resolution microscopy technology, dubbed the Nanoimager, to visualize living cells and the way molecules interact. The technology has a 20-nanometer resolution, which will allow researchers to quantify biomarkers on CAR T cells and tumor cells.

At UPenn, Marco Ruella, the scientific director of the lymphoma program, and other researchers at the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and the Abramson Cancer Center, will incorporate ONI's technology into ongoing efforts to study the mechanisms of resistance to CAR T-cell therapy and develop next-generation CAR T-cell therapies.

"There is significant interest in further understanding the key factors associated with outcome and toxicity after CAR T therapy and how these observations could help guide next-generation CAR T therapies," Ruella said in a statement. "The use of next-generation imaging technologies that can visualize the interaction between CAR T and tumor cells could provide key insights into mechanisms of action not available with other technologies."