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In-vitro assays for immuno-oncology drug efficacy assessment and screening for personalized cancer therapy: scopes and challenges.

INTRODUCTION: Immunotherapies have revolutionized cancer treatment, but often fail to produce desirable therapeutic outcomes in all patients. Due to the inter-patient heterogeneity and complexity of the tumor microenvironment, personalized treatment approaches are gaining demand. Researchers have long been using a range of in-vitro assays including 2D models, organoid co-cultures, and cancer-on-a-chip platforms for cancer drug screening. A comparative analysis of these assays with their suitability, high-throughput capacity, and clinical translatability is required for optimal translational use.

AREAS COVERED: The review summarized in-vitro platforms with their comparative advantages and limitations including construction strategies, and translational potential for immuno-oncology drug efficacy assessment. We also discussed end-point analysis strategies so that researchers can contextualize their usefulness and optimally design experiments for personalized immunotherapy efficacy prediction.

EXPERT OPINION: Researchers developed several in-vitro platforms that can provide information on personalized immunotherapy efficacy from different angles. Image-based assays are undoubtedly more suitable to gather a wide range of information including cellular morphology and phenotypical behaviors but need significant improvement to overcome issues including background noise, sample preparation difficulty, and long duration of experiment. More studies and clinical trials are needed to resolve these issues and validate the assays before they can be used in real-life scenarios.

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