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Past, Present and Future of Engineered Cell Therapy

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • Director Drug Development City of Hope
    Biography

      Dr. Krishnamurthy, a pharmacist by training, graduated with a Ph.D. in the field of translational immunology from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas. As part of her PhD project, she successfully developed a novel CAR T therapy targeting an ancient retrovirus to treat melanoma and breast cancer, which was patented and acquired by Ziopharm. Her biotech industry experiences include leading the assessment of potential CAR T to treat solid tumors, establishing R&D platforms at Bluebird Bio; Product and process development, IND filing for phase1 clinical trial at TCR2 Therapeutics; Developing pre-clinical and translational platform for allogeneic CAR-T products at Atara Biotherapeutics. In her current role as Director, Dr. Krishnamurthy is leading the initiatives of drug development and commercialization of immunotherapy at City of Hope.


    Abstract

    Engineered cell therapy is an emerging field of science to target and treat cancer. Current strategies include utilizing immune cells such as T cells, NK cells and Macrophages or other cells such as RBC, induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells are genetically engineered to express tumor antigen-specific protein on the cell surface along with gene modifications to make these cells more tolerant and persist longer in the patient. The field is moving towards combination therapy and making marked improvements in manufacturing and logistics of this therapy. Combination therapy include CAR-T cells with immune modulators such as PD-1 inhibitors or with other cell therapies such as CAR-NK cells. Manufacturing improvements include shortening the culture period thereby reducing the time from bench-to-bedside, making the cells off-the-shelf (allogeneic) and logistics of sourcing raw materials. Gene modification technologies including CRISPR, zincfinger, MegaTALs can knockdown genes that can cause graft versus host disease and knock-in genes that encode for CAR or factors such as cytokines that increase the persistence of these cells. Despite these scientific advancements, we are still at the beginning of these therapeutic milestones. Targeting solid tumor with this therapy has been a challenge and modulating the tumor microenvironment to accentuate the function of CAR-cells are being explored.

    Learning objectives:

    1. Understand the gene engineered cell therapy field

    2. Areas that need improvement in this field

    3. Manufacturing objectives in cell therapy


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