Ritika Jain

BME PhD Proposal Presentation

Date: 2023-11-09
Time: 12:00-2:00 PM
Location / Meeting Link: EBB 5029

Committee Members:
Dr. Krishnendu Roy (Advisor); Dr. Facundo Fernandez; Dr. Shivaram Selvam; Dr. Ankur Singh; Dr. Shuichi Takayama

Title: Improving Feeder-Free NK Cell Manufacturing for Adoptive Cell Therapy

Adoptive cell therapies using chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells have revolutionized the field of cancer immunotherapy by harnessing a patient’s own immune cells to detect and eliminate cancerous cells. The success of CAR-T cell therapies has sparked interest in other immune cell-based cancer therapies. Natural killer (NK) cells are a subset of innate immune cells that can recognize cancerous cells without prior sensitization, making them an attractive option as an adoptive cell therapy. The main obstacles to the use of NK cells as a therapeutic are the difficulty associated with expanding cells to a clinically relevant dose as well as the limitations related to cell manufacturing scale-up. Here, we propose an NK cell expansion system using a degradable microscaffold (DMS) functionalized with activating ligands and antibodies to trigger NK cell activation and expansion. We aim to optimize the NK cell manufacturing workflow using DMSes, to identify critical process parameters and predictive markers for cell yield and quality, and to investigate scale up to bioreactor-level cultures. The result of this work will be a novel platform for NK cell expansion that can be scaled up to a clinically relevant level, thereby increasing access to this therapy for patients.