Bone marrow transplantation has proven very effective for aggressive blood cancers such as leukemia. Prior to receiving a transplant, patients receive a chemotherapy regimen, sometimes with radiation, to eradicate the underlying disease and allow the healthy donor cells to engraft and repopulate the blood and immune system. However, the potential for severe long-term immunodeficiency and related immunological complications make bone marrow transplantation a high-risk procedure. To reduce that risk, Dr. Shah is developing a system that uses a programmable biomaterial to promote the formation of desired immune cells after transplantation. He will then test its ability to enhance immune recovery in pre-clinical animal studies, to look for insights that may enable more effective strategies to address immunodeficiency in humans.
The successes in cancer immunotherapy have provided evidence that the immune system has the potential to eradicate a broad range of cancers. I hope to build on these successes, to further develop principles to engineer the immune response against cancer. Towards this goal, the CRI Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship and the support of my mentors have provided me with the environment to freely pursue my ideas.
Projects and Grants
Designing a synthetic bone marrow niche to overcome immunodeficiency
Harvard Medical School | All Cancers, Leukemia | 2017 | David J. Mooney, Ph.D.
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