Peck Symposium 2022 Speakers

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Photo of Dr. Sandro Matosevik

Dr. Sandro Matosevic, PhD

Assistant Professor, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Sandro Matosevic, Ph.D. is assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy at Purdue University. His lab studies immunotherapy of solid tumors using engineered natural killer cells, immunometabolic reprogramming and innate immunity.

Talk Title: Reprogramming of Natural Killer Cells as Immunotherapies for Solid Tumors

Natural killer (NK) cell infiltration into and anti-tumor immunity against solid tumors is often low, limiting the effectiveness of their use as immunotherapies for difficult-to-treat cancers. Functional and metabolic impairment of NK cells is induced by the suppressive microenvironment of solid tumors due to, among others, hypoxia, metabolites such as adenosine and the expression of inhibitory NK checkpoints. Reprogramming natural killer cells to formulate innate effectors with sustained anti-tumor function is an approach that we have taken to generate multi-functional, genetically-engineered NK cells which can respond to multiple immunosuppressive mechanisms around the tumor. We have applied one such approach to the treatment of glioblastoma. We have approached this by engineering NK cells that are able to co-target, at once, multiple immunosuppressive ligands on cancer cells ― including GD2 and ligands for NKG2D ― while promoting the local release of agents that can modulate the local tumor microenvironment by suppressing the generation of metabolites such as adenosine via CD73, and supporting the further recruitment of immune effectors through enhanced chemokine signaling. Such tumor-responsive NK cells are able to mount a local, sustained immune response and evade immune escape mechanism intrinsic to many cancers including glioblastoma. Here, we discuss our work in redirecting NK cells to overcome immunosuppressive solid tumor signaling by genetically rewiring their functional and immunometabolic responses for use in adoptive transfer settings.

 


 

 

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         Dr. Yoon Yeo, PhD

Photo of Dr. Yoon Yeo

Professor of Industrial & Physical Pharmacy and Biomedical Engineering, and Associate Department Head, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Dr. Yoon Yeo is a Professor and Associate Department Head of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy at the College of Pharmacy with a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering and a Showalter Faculty Scholar at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in Pharmacy and M.S. in Microbial Chemistry at Seoul National University in Korea, and her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics at Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA. She obtained post-doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and returned to Purdue to join the faculty in 2007. Her research focuses on nanoparticle surface engineering for drug delivery to solid tumors, intracellular delivery of peptide antibiotics, anion-resistant non viral gene vectors and functional biomaterials for immunomodulation.

Talk Title: Nanoparticle Engineering for Chemoimmunotherapy of Cancer

Immune checkpoint blockade aims to rekindle host immune responses against cancer by interfering with cellular interactions that suppress cytotoxic T-cell activities. However, a critical limitation of immune checkpoint blockade is that it currently benefits only a fraction of patients with tumors pre-infiltrated by T cells (“hot” tumors). “Cold” tumors, which lacks in adequate pre-existing T-cell immune responses, remain refractory to immune checkpoint inhibitors. In an effort to overcome this challenge, we develop nanoparticle formulations that can leverage the immune system. In one example, we exploit the adjuvanticity of drug carriers to stimulate antigen presenting cells. Alternatively, we deliver anti-cancer drugs in a sustained manner to generate tumor neoantigens in situ. I will present how drug carriers can help enhance cancer immunotherapy with these examples and what remains a challenge in future development of cancer chemoimmunotherapy. 

 


          

 

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