CRI Funded Scientists

Kole T. Roybal, PhD, CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR

University of California, San Francisco

Area of Research: All Cancers

Engineered T cell therapies for cancer suffer from a spectrum of deficiencies in solid malignancies. These range from issues of precise targeting and infiltration of tumors to T cell dysfunction and a complex set of cellular interactions and soluble factors in the tumor microenvironment that inhibit immunity. Given the sheer number of potential mechanisms that tumors can utilize to thwart immunity, it is important to think holistically about how to engineer a therapeutic cell with both optimized intrinsic function and added synthetic function to overcome evasion of anti-tumor immunity. Dr. Roybal’s lab has focused on the development of advanced engineered receptor systems (e.g. synNotch, SNIPRs, and CARs) that allow for the precise detection of tumors and the customization of the therapeutic response specifically at the site of disease. Programmed and localized activity of cell therapies has the potential to both reduce toxicity and concentrate the therapeutic effect where it is most needed, improving safety and efficacy. Here Dr. Roybal’s current research program and future vision is to advance the powerful synthetic biology platforms for engineering programmed smart cell therapeutics for the treatment of solid tumors. His mission is to engineer and distribute a comprehensive toolkit of molecular parts including new receptors and therapeutic signaling circuits that can be deployed in a broad range of cell-based therapeutics, so he can make impact across treating multiple refractory cancers.

Projects and Grants

Design and optimization of engineered T cell therapeutics for cancer

University of California, San Francisco | All Cancers | 2022

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