While current immunotherapies have been helpful for patients with several types of advanced cancers, they have only worked in a small subset of patients with colorectal cancer. To address the urgent need in this disease, Dr. Wald is focusing on a new immunotherapy strategy that uses immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells. One major advantage of these NK cells is that because of how they recognize and interact with cancer cells, it should be possible to create an “off-the-shelf” NK cell product for patients.
To that end, he has developed an approach that overcomes several major hurdles associated with these cells, including the ability to quickly produce large numbers of them as well as maintain their activity once they’re in the body. Recently, Wald’s team was cleared by the FDA to use their NK cells in cancer patients, and they’ll soon be evaluating how well these NK cells can help eliminate tumors in colorectal cancer patients, in addition to monitoring long-term activity and survival of the NK cells within patients. Hopefully, this work will lead to improved options for patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
Projects and Grants
Targeting TGFβ/GSK3 to enhance NK cell therapy for colon cancer
Case Western Reserve University | Colorectal Cancer | 2019
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