Liquid monitoring

Revolutionizing process analytics
for immunotherapy using nanoelectronics

Holst Centre’s compact and cost-effective on-chip fluid sensor technology greatly contributes to the process analytics and development of personalised immunotherapies such as CAR T-cell therapy.

One of the most promising personalized immunotherapies for treating cancer is CAR T-therapy. A sample of a patient's T cells are collected from the blood, then modified to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. The new receptors latch onto a specific antigen of the tumour cells and kill them, ideally sending the patient into remission and ultimately curing their cancer.

One of the essential steps in the CAR T manufacturing process is to effectively modify T-cells using a compact bioreactor. All doses must be contained in single use (miniature) reactors and facilities with perfectly controlled conditions. This requires very precise measurements of key parameters in tiny volumes of liquids, that meet the same strict regulations and standards that are applicable for high-volume biochemical manufacturing processes with large volumes of liquids.

Next step in liquid monitoring

Most current fluid sensors are expensive, large and restricted to measuring just one parameter. Time-consuming lab analysis of samples also means that findings are never real-time. To bypass these shortcomings, Holst Centre developed a continuous and real-time lab-on-a-chip for measuring multiple ions (like pH, EC, T, dissolved oxygen, nitrate a.o.), essential parameters to monitor in biomanufacturing. Long-term stability is achieved by incorporating microfluidics on the chip, while microfabrication enables mass production and low cost. Our on-chip fluid sensor is sterilizable and forms the perfect technology to enable a continuous liquid monitoring system.

The sensing area in contact with the liquid has the size of a small coin; just needs one calibration before deployment and it measures multiple parameters, all at the same time. Wireless transmission of measurements enables an IoT set-up of networked sensors. This revolutionary fluid sensor is robust, low-maintenance technology that offers cost-effective system on-chip integration. For the development of sensing solutions for new parameters, such as proteins, and bioburden, we closely collaborate with imec’s Life Science team in Leuven. In the near future we aim for a seamless integration of all these sensing technologies in small form factors.

Looking for partners

To leverage the full potential of our on-chip fluid sensor and further optimize the process analytics, we are looking to collaborate with industry partners to conduct pilot projects. At Holst Centre, we believe that our sophisticated, compact and stable liquid sensing solution can greatly contribute to the process analytical technology required for the high-quality manufacturing process for CAR T-therapy.