Cellular immunotherapy is an exciting new area of treatment that involves taking patients’ own immune cells, enhancing them, and then delivering them back to patients where they can help eliminate their cancer. In particular, CAR T cells have provided incredible benefits for patients, including children, with leukemia and lymphoma. However, due to various challenges, CAR T cell immunotherapies have not yet proven as effective patients with solid cancers, including those of the breast, brain, lungs, and other organs. Furthermore, they can also cause damaging off-target side effects.
Therefore, the goal of Dr. Cheng’s work is to develop “smart” CAR T cell immunotherapies that are activated only in the solid tumor when they encounter key tumor targets, so that they don’t accidentally attack healthy cells that also express these proteins. Specifically, his research seeks to apply a novel technology to CAR T cell strategies in order develop a CAR T cell immunotherapy that could be used in the clinic to target a protein, EGFR, that is overexpressed in many solid tumor cancers. Overall, the hope is that this work will provide a foundation for the future CAR T cell designs that can improve the safety and effectiveness of clinical CAR T cell immunotherapies for patients with solid tumors.
Projects and Grants
Development and Characterization of a Humanized Synthetic Notch Receptor Platform to Regulate Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Immunotherapies in a Solid Tumor Model
Seattle Children's Research Institute | All Cancers | 2018 | Michael C. Jensen, M.D.
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