Cell-based immunotherapies have gained considerable interest over the past few years. Our lab utilizes hESCs and iPSCs to produce human immune cells, primarily focused on natural killer (NK) cell development. We have demonstrated the ability to routinely produce engineered iPSC-derived NK cells with improved anti-tumor activity by expression of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), stabilized CD16 expression and other enhancements. These engineered iPSC-derived NK cells are now in clinical trials for treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory cancers. We also have projects to produce iPSC-derived macrophages that can be used both for anti-cancer therapies, as well as tissue repair and regeneration. Another area of interest is to use a CRISPR/Cas-based screening strategy to identify novel regulators of NK cell activity. Together, these projects will allow us to produce standardized, off-the-shelf, targeted immunotherapy to better treat and cure both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors that are refractory to current treatments.
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