Research Team: Evren Alici, M.D., Ph.D.; Adil Duru, Ph.D.; Carin Dahlberg, Ph.D.
Summary: Natural killer cells (NK-cells) are cytotoxic lymphocytes critical to the innate immune system. Discovered at Karolinska Institutet in 1974, NK-cells hold the potential to be “programmed” to selectively bind to and destroy tumor cells with very few side-effects. Preliminary human studies are encouraging in targeting multiple myeloma, a deadly form of blood cancer. New studies will be advanced at the NSU Cell Therapy Institute, including investigating novel approaches harnessing the potency of NK-cells against a broad range of difficult-to-treat cancers.
Research Team: Andreas Lundqvist, Ph.D.; Shannon Murray, Ph.D.
Summary: Cancer can employ multiple defense mechanisms to suppress the immune system and avoid detection. For example, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) can be used by cancer cells to down-regulate the immune system and diminish the cancer killing capabilities of T-cells, NK-cells, dendritic cells, macrophages and other immune responses. The NSU Cell Therapy Institute is advancing novel anti-MDSC approaches to overcome suppression defenses while recruiting targeted immune responses by both NK-cells and T-cells, as potential monotherapy or in combination with other anti-cancer treatments for malignant melanoma and kidney cancer.
Research Team: Richard Jove, Ph.D.; Thomas Temple, M.D.
Summary: While standard cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation can destroy many kinds of cancers, cancer stem cells possess the ability to escape, survive and metastasize to distant sites in the body. These cells typically develop into new tumors, destroy normal tissues such as bone and are often resistant to most therapies. The NSU Cell Therapy Institute is advancing novel approaches to modulating signaling pathways, such as JAK/STAT, which are critical to cancer stem cell survival and regeneration of normal tissue. By inhibiting cancer stem cell pathways, cancer recurrence may be eliminated, resulting in durable remissions. Conversely, activating these same pathways can enhance regeneration of damaged normal tissues including bone.