Optimise cell therapies in solid tumours: The need for a multimodal imaging platform

Published 18 July 2019


Immune cell therapies have transformed the therapeutic landscape and are now reaching patients in growing numbers with promising results. The success of CAR-T therapy in leukaemia has been realised with the market approval of Novartis’s Kymriah in 2017 which is now reaching patients globally. However, solid tumours represent a much greater challenge due to the barrier of the tumour cell wall and the complexity of the tumour microenvironment.

To date, a strategy to investigate the underlying mechanisms of this simply does not exist. Furthermore, before any such strategy can be comprehensively evaluated in vivo, a means to track these cells in situ and subsequently monitor their success is fundamental.

Last year EATRIS participated in developing a proposal that involved 19 partners, of which 7 are EATRIS Institutions, to seek funding for the creation of a multimodal imaging platform under the project name EPPIC. This could be implemented at clinical sites to optimise the use of cell therapies.

This broadly applicable platform could be used as a prognostic indicator for novel therapies using imaging modalities to address the biodistribution and safety of these adaptive cell therapies in the hope of stratifying patients into responders versus non-responders.

Dr Mangala Srinivas from Radboudumc coordinated EPPIC which despite achieving a score above the threshold, was unfortunately not funded on this occasion. However, this initiative remains high on the scientific agenda of EATRIS and its EPPIC partners. To that end, we recently were invited to develop a commentary piece on this initiative. In this article, we outline the need for creating imaging platforms as such, to optimise the use of cell therapies for the benefit of patients who require these innovative treatments.

Through publication, and by promoting this key initiative in international conferences, we hope to make this essential enabling technology an operational reality soon. We hope you will enjoy reading this commentary piece from EATRIS and collaborators published online this week in Bioinsights.


  • Dr David Morrow
  • Dr Mangala Srinivas
  • Anton Ussi
  • Dr Chris Mann
  • Dr Toni Andreu

You can read the full article here.