Recent Innovations in Immune Checkpoint Assay Technologies

Immune checkpoints, physiologically purposed to maintain immune homeostasis and prevent autoimmunity, are increasingly becoming targets for cancer treatment due to their regulatory role in immune responses. Checkpoint assay technologies are instrumental in deciphering the functions of immune checkpoint proteins and advancing the sphere of immunotherapy. These ingenious techniques enable scientists to investigate immune checkpoint interplays.

Creative Biolabs, a dedicated innovator in this area, capitalizes on our unparalleled expertise to develop novel immune checkpoint assays and accelerate the progression of immunotherapies. With our advanced platform, we can demonstrate the binding and functional properties of your molecules and their potential mechanisms of action.

Services What We Do Advantages
Immune Checkpoint Binding and Interaction Assays We can offer a comprehensive set of binding and interaction assays to screen for promising candidates, proceed to interaction assays with selected candidates for blocking ability, and finally progress to functional assays that test for immuno-modulatory activity. With our customized project design, we can demonstrate your molecules' binding, interaction, and functional properties.
  • Innovative binding assay
  • Personalized project design
  • high-quality reagents and strict controls
Immune Checkpoint Functional Assays We offer comprehensive immune checkpoint function assays, such as T-cell proliferation assays, cytokine production assays and T-cell toxicity assays, to facilitate the development of meaningful immunotherapy programs for our clients.
  • Specialized technical scientists
  • Powerful platform
  • Rich experience
Immune Checkpoint Potency and Stability Assays Creative Biolabs has developed a range of cell-based bioassays for various immune checkpoint targets, including PD-1/PD-L1, CTLA-4, LAG-3, TIGIT, CD40, OX40, GITR, and 4-1BB.
  • A variety of immune checkpoint targets available
  • Phase-appropriate method validation
  • Lot release potency testing
  • Real-time stability testing

This review unravels some of the most recent advancements in immune checkpoint assay technologies.

The Basis of Immune Checkpoint Assays

Before delving into the recent innovations, it is crucial to grasp the fundamental principles underlying immune checkpoint assays. These assays are designed to evaluate the activity of immune checkpoints, molecular pathways that regulate the immune response and prevent excessive immune activation. Key players in this regulatory system include PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4, and others.

The primary goal of immune checkpoint assays is to assess the interactions between these checkpoints and their ligands, enabling researchers and clinicians to identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Traditional assays often involve flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). However, recent innovations have revolutionized these approaches, providing more accurate, sensitive, and comprehensive insights into the immune checkpoint landscape.

A microfluidic platform for targeting multiple soluble immune checkpoints. (Reza, K. Kamil, et al., 2019)Fig. 1 A microfluidic platform for targeting multiple soluble immune checkpoints.1

Innovations in Immune Checkpoint Assay Technologies

Conventional immune checkpoint assays often face challenges such as limited sensitivity, specificity, and dynamic range. In response to these challenges, researchers and biotechnology companies have been at the forefront of developing novel assay technologies to overcome existing limitations and unlock new insights into immune checkpoint biology. Below, we highlight some of the recent innovations that are shaping the field of immune checkpoint assays.

Technologies Innovations Applications
Multiplex Immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Immunofluorescence (IF)
  • Traditional IHC techniques allow for the visualization of immune checkpoint proteins within tissue samples; however, they are often limited by the number of targets that can be simultaneously assessed.
  • Multiplex IHC and IF technologies enable the concurrent detection of multiple immune checkpoints, immune cell markers, and other relevant biomarkers within the same tissue section.
  • Comprehensive spatial and phenotypic characterization of the tumor microenvironment
  • Study immune checkpoint interactions
NGS-Based Assays
  • In the context of immune checkpoint assays, NGS-based approaches facilitate the high-throughput profiling of immune checkpoint gene expression, somatic mutations, and other genomic alterations associated with immune evasion.
  • Identify novel predictive biomarkers of response to immune checkpoint blockade
  • Unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying treatment resistance.
High-content Imaging and Analysis
  • By capturing detailed morphological and spatial information, high-content imaging platforms equipped with advanced image analysis algorithms offer deeper insights into immune checkpoint biology and facilitate the identification of rare cell populations with therapeutic relevance.
  • Quantitative assessment of immune checkpoint expression and localization at the single-cell level
Microfluidic-based Assays
  • Microfluidic devices provide precise control over fluid flow and reaction kinetics, enabling the development of miniaturized and automated immune checkpoint assays.
  • Microfluidic-based platforms offer advantages such as reduced sample and reagent consumption, enhanced sensitivity, and multiplexing capabilities.
Liquid Biopsy Technologies
  • Liquid biopsies, which involve the analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), cell-free DNA (cfDNA), and extracellular vesicles (EVs) shed by tumors, offer a minimally invasive alternative to traditional tissue biopsies.
  • Recent advancements in liquid biopsy technologies enable the detection and quantification of immune checkpoint proteins and nucleic acids in peripheral blood samples.
  • Real-time monitoring of immune checkpoint expression dynamics

Applications of Immune Checkpoint Assay Technologies in Cancer Immunotherapy

The innovative immune checkpoint assay technologies hold immense promise for advancing cancer immunotherapy across multiple fronts.

  • Mechanistic Insights
    Immune checkpoint assays provide valuable mechanistic insights into the dynamic interplay between immune checkpoints, immune cell subsets, and the tumor microenvironment. By elucidating the underlying mechanisms of immune evasion and resistance to therapy, these assays inform the rational design of combination immunotherapy strategies targeting multiple checkpoints and pathways.
  • Drug Development
    High-throughput screening platforms enable rapid evaluation of candidate immunomodulatory agents, expediting the drug discovery process and accelerating the translation of preclinical findings into clinical therapies. By facilitating the identification of novel immune checkpoint inhibitors and combination regimens, these platforms drive innovation in cancer immunotherapy and expand the therapeutic arsenal against cancer.
  • Biomarker Discovery
    Immune checkpoint assays facilitate the identification of predictive biomarkers for patient stratification and treatment selection. By correlating immune checkpoint expression profiles with clinical outcomes, these assays aid in the identification of patients likely to benefit from immune checkpoint blockade, optimizing treatment efficacy and minimizing adverse effects.

Creative Biolabs, with its commitment to innovation and excellence, stands at the forefront of incorporating these cutting-edge technologies into our immune checkpoint assay services.


  1. Reza, K. Kamil, et al. "A SERS microfluidic platform for targeting multiple soluble immune checkpoints." Biosensors and Bioelectronics 126 (2019): 178-186.

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