Session Date and Time: Wednesday Apr 18, 2018 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: McCormick Place South, Exhibit Hall A, Poster Section 25

Poster Board Number: 18, Permanent Abstract Number: 5562


Gera Goverse1, Lidia Daszkiewicz1, Kuan Yan1, Mohamed Tleis1, Mariusz Madej1, Lucia Salinaro1, Leo Price1

1OcellO B.V. Leiden, The Netherlands



Cancer immunotherapy has already yielded promising clinical results but most patients still do not respond. The mechanisms of action of these treatment modalities are also not fully understood and the progress in this direction is hampered by a lack of appropriate pre-clinical testing models. To investigate the role of novel therapeutics targeting the immune cell compartment to kill tumor cells, we developed an in vitro assay based on 3D cultures and image based analysis in a 384-wells plate format. Immune cells are added to recapitulate the tumor micro-environment and its complex interactions between different cellular players. Specifically, infiltration of immune cells into the tumoroids and their killing are visualized and measured, enabling a better understanding of the immune-modulatory profile of different treatments.


Autologous patient derived colon organoids from normal and tumor tissue from several patients were cultured in a 3D environment. HLA-matched PBMCs with and without activation were added and immune-cell infiltration and killing of the CRC organoids was visualized in 3D using automated microscopy. Quantification of immune cell effects was achieved with morphometric analysis with OMinerTM software.


3D image data analysis enabled the discrimination of immune-tumor cell interactions and revealed a higher immune cell infiltration and tumoroid killing upon activation.  In addition, we were able to compare both normal and tumor colon tissue from the same patient and compare between patients, demonstrating patient related differences and elucidating the effect of immune cell targeting on normal colon tissue.


The 3D assay presented here allows the analysis of different cell types that engage in a more realistic setting than when culturing them in traditional 2D cultures. Using image-based analysis, immune-tumor interactions can be visualized and quantified. The 3D environment, both for the cell culture and image analysis, allows for measurement of spatially resolved information, not accessible by monolayer cultures or biochemical assays. This new and innovative platform can empower immunotherapy drug developers to select the most promising candidates and better understand their mechanism of action.