An in silico Model of T Cell Infiltration Dynamics Based on an Advanced in vitro System to Enhance Preclinical Decision Making in Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapy often involves the use of engineered molecules to selectively bind and activate T cells located within tumour tissue. Fundamental to the success of such treatments is the presence or recruitment of T cells localised within the tumour microenvironment. Advanced organ-on-a-chip systems provide an in vitro setting in which to investigate how novel molecules influence the spatiotemporal dynamics of T cell infiltration into tissue, both in the context of anti-tumour efficacy and off-tumour toxicity. While highly promising, the complexity of these systems is such that mathematical modelling plays a crucial role in the quantitative evaluation of experimental results and maximising the mechanistic insight derived. We develop a mechanistic, mathematical model of a novel microphysiological in vitro platform that recapitulates T cell infiltration into epithelial tissue, which may be normal or transformed. The mathematical model describes the spatiotemporal dynamics of infiltrating T cells in response to chemotactic cytokine signalling. We integrate the model with dynamic imaging data to optimise key model parameters. The mathematical model demonstrates a good fit to the observed experimental data and accurately describes the distribution of infiltrating T cells. This model is designed to complement the in vitro system; with the potential to elucidate complex biological mechanisms, including the mode of action of novel therapies and the drivers of safety events, and, ultimately, improve the efficacy-safety profile of T cell-targeted cancer immunotherapies.