Our overall goal is to develop novel targeted immunotherapies for patients with hematologic malignancies. The group develops adoptive T cell therapies with native or engineered receptors and evaluates combinatorial strategies. The objective is to efficiently target tumor cells, mitigate immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment factors, favor tumor-targeted migration and longevity of transferred T cells, control potential toxicities, identify novel personalized targets, and move developments to the clinic.
To engineer human T cells for targeting hematologic malignancies (chimeric antigen receptors, transgenic T cell receptors, engager molecules etc)
To determine if function and persistence of transgenic T cells can be enhanced through (a) reactivating viruses, (b) immune checkpoint blockade or (c) vaccination
To develop combinatorial approaches to T cell therapy targeting both the tumor cells and their microenvironment (e.g. engineer tumor-directed migration, resistance to immune inhibitory signals)
To engineer signaling switches in T cells that revert tumor-associated immune inhibitory signals.
To evaluate 3D culture systems to better model the tumor microenvironment in vitro and apply them to evaluate transgenic T cell function
To identify immunogenic mutational tumor neo-antigens in patients with hematologic malignancies and to isolate their neo-antigen specific TCRs for personalized medicine applications.
We apply principles from immunology, hematology, cancer and systems biology, use gene transfer and editing technologies to engineer T cells, and collaborate with experts in protein engineering, gene editing, proteomics/ peptidomics, immunomonitoring, bioinformatics, bioengineering, clinical hematology and immuno-oncology.
- Bajwa G, Lanz I, Cardenas M, Brenner MK, Arber C. Transgenic CD8ab co-receptor rescues endogenous TCR function in TCR-transgenic virus-specific T cells. Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, 2020 Nov;8(2):e001487. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2020-001487. PMID 33148692
- Rath JA*, Bajwa G*, Carreres B, Hoyer E, Gruber I, Martínez-Paniagua MA, Yu Y, Nouraee N, Sadeghi F, Wu M, Wang T, Hebeisen M, Rufer N, Varadarajan N, Ho PC, Brenner MK, Gfeller D, Arber C. Single-cell transcriptomics identifies multiple pathways underlying potent anti-tumor function of TCR and CD8ab engineered human CD4+ T cells. *equal contribution first authorship. Science Advances, 2020, Jul 3;6(27):eaaz7809. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz7809. eCollection 2020 Jul. PMID: 32923584
- Rath JA and Arber C. Engineering strategies to enhance TCR based adoptive T cell therapy. Cells 2020, June 18;9(6):1485. doi: 10.3390/cells9061485. PMID: 32570906
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