Development of an assay for personalized synergistic blockade immunotherapy treatment of COVD-19 patients using CytoFind™

The current COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to healthcare professionals as they deal with managing the primary disease and it many complications. The proposal aims to develop, test, and validate an assay to detect quickly immune checkpoint targets in T cells in peripheral blood with high specificity and sensitivity using a diagnostic device, CytoFind, that can capture rare circulating cells in whole blood samples. Specifically, we aim to detecting the expression of TIGIT and PD-1 protein receptors, which have been reported to be directly correlated with T cell exhaustion, which results in the body being unable to clear the COVID-19 virus effectively. This leads to disease progression and in most cases, death.
Co-blockade treatments targeting the immune checkpoint targets, TIGIT and PD-1, in T cells have shown promising potential in restoring exhausted CD8+ T cell populations and upregulating viral clearance in compared to current therapies. Thus, our proposed project, will validate a clinical research tool that will be able to capture and characterize patients’ T cell populations, informing health care providers about the likelihood of response to personalized co-blockade therapy in COVID-19 patients by using a simple blood test.

Faculty Supervisor:

Shana Kelley;Stephane Angers


Bushra Tasadduq


Cellular Analytics


Pharmacy / Pharmacology


Professional, scientific and technical services


University of Toronto



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