CAR T cell immunotherapy, chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy, proteins, cell therapy, gene therapy
Pharma & Biotech

Cell therapy

Cell therapy involves the transfer of cells with the relevant function into the patient. The cells are modified outside the body before being injected into the patient, and can come from the patient (autologous cells) or a donor (allogeneic cells). Examples of cell therapy include CAR T-cells – proper quality control is essential to maintaining their effectiveness and reproducibility.

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CAR T-cells

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells are rapidly emerging as a promising treatment for cancers and immune disorders. T-cells are genetically modified with CARs containing antibody-based recognition domains against cell-surface antigens on the target cell type.

T-cells, and more recently NK cells, can be genetically manipulated using lentiviruses and retroviruses. Viral vectors have a high transduction efficiency, but they suffer from immunogenicity and cellular toxicity.

CAR T cell immunotherapy, chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy
Pipetting artus cleanroom, manufacturing of an artus mastermix

CAR T-cell development

Current research efforts focus on using CRISPR editing for CAR T-cell engineering for reproducible, safe and potent CAR T-cell products. The current manufacturing process of CAR T-cells requires dedicated equipment and significant technical expertise, so there is an urgent need to develop a safe yet simple approach to CAR T-cell development. In vivo reprogramming of CAR T-cells using nanotechnology to encapsulate CAR-expressing plasmids provides an alternative approach. Viral vectors such as lentiviruses have also been tested for the in vivo generation of CAR T-cells.

We offer a range of products for the quantification of viral titers and viral vectors, detection of residual host cell DNA and solutions for CRISPR-mediated editing for CAR T-cell engineering.

Lentivirus production

One of the most versatile gene transfer methods for T-cell therapies uses recombinant lentiviral vectors since they can transduce both dividing and nondividing cells. Effective and reproducible cell therapies require sensitive and precise methods for quality control of lentivirus production. Traditional qPCR quantification of nucleic acids may be affected by PCR inhibitors and additionally require a reference standard for quantification. Conversely, the QIAcuity Digital PCR System enables fast, reproducible and absolute quantification of viral vectors and viral titer without a reference standard, ensuring quality and reproducibility in cell therapy research. The technology also has a greater tolerance for inhibitors than qPCR.

Cignal, lentivirus
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Accelerate your data-driven cell therapies

From data analysis to databases, from gene expression to genome assembly, from interpretation to integration – QIAGEN Digital Insights has the breadth and quality of bioinformatics tools you need to drive meaningful insights and fuel cell therapy discoveries.


Lindsey A. Murphy et al. (2022). Digital polymerase chain reaction strategies for accurate and precise detection of vector copy number in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell products. Cytotherapy.

Lindsey A. Murphy et al. (2021). Detection of Vector Copy Number in Bicistronic CD19xCD22 CAR T Cell Products with Digital PCR. Blood. 138 (1): 4001.