The Role of the Histologist in CAR-T Cell Therapy


Histologists play an essential role in the overall process and outcome for a patient receiving CAR T-Cell therapy.  CAR T-Cell therapy is an immunotherapy treatment designed to activate a patient’s immune system to target and destroy cancerous cells. The therapy involves developing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells to bind to a specific type of cancer.

Before infusion of these modified T-cells into a patient can take place, the histologist must process samples. Standardized protocols must be adhered to, and histologists must ensure quality control is achieved in both materials used and the procedures done throughout the sample processing to ensure reproducible and reliable data are achieved.  A histologist, employing their knowledge and expertise, needs to determine the best processing schedule, fixation time, and method for processing the sample. Multiple tests, all of which are documented, should be done to determine which would produce the best outcomes for the clinical side.

A histologist also plays a role in the baseline assessment by staining slides to determine whether cells are abnormal, normal, or tumor-producing. Performing biomarker testing, which can help determine the type of receptors present in the sample and if the patient is a candidate for CAR T-Cell therapy, is another way a histologist can contribute. Capturing all the information gleaned from the sample processing and testing, annotating slides, and transferring the information between research and the clinical side is one final role the histologist can perform.

CAR T-Cell therapy is ever-evolving. For example, early efforts involved using the patient’s T-Cells. Later efforts have included sourcing T-Cells from healthy donors.  The webinar CAR-T Cell Treatment provides a historical outline of the advances in this promising immunotherapy treatment.

You can learn more about  CAR-T Cell Treatment in the Webinar: CAR-T Cell Treatment presented by Sherita Meyer-Gauen, MS, HTL(ASCP, QIHC