Grants - V Scholar Grants - California - 2021

Christopher Seet, MD PhD

Harnessing the immune system to eliminate tumor cells has led to remarkable responses in several advanced cancer types. T cells are the key immune cell type which are engineered in the lab to seek out and destroy tumor cells, however in many cases tumor cells adapt to evade T cell killing, leading to disease relapses. Advances in cell engineering now permit T cells to be made in the lab from specialized stem cells. This technology promises to provide more cancer patients access to T cell therapies, but also presents the opportunity to make T cells more effective in prevent tumor escape. The goal of this research project is to study the ways in which tumor cells evade killing by lab-grown T cells, and how engineering specific molecules on lab-grown T cells may enable us to turn on tumor killing mechanisms to prevent tumor cell escape. Our overall goal is to further the development of this new kind of T cell therapy to be more effective across a wider range of cancer patients.