Synthetic Gene Expression Regulatory Switch engineered CAR T cells for children with cancer
Mentor Name: Andras Heczey
Cancer immunotherapy relies on the ability of the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells. Recent advances in genetic engineering have enabled the development of a new strategy to reprogram special white blood cells called T cells to effectively destroy tumor cells. This is achieved by inserting new gene(s) into T cells that equip them to recognize, proliferate in response to, and subsequently destroy tumor cells. This approach has been very successful in children with certain blood cancers and has the potential to help children with solid tumors as well. However, engineered T cells have so far generated limited responses in patients with solid tumors; emerging scientific results show that inside solid tumors, the hostile microenvironment can block T cell function.