Improving Immune Cell-based Therapies Against Solid Tumors by Engineering Septin Proteins

ID# 2023-5590
Transmigration efficiency of engineered cells

Technology Summary

The invention improves immune cell penetration into solid tumors by creating a light-sensitive septin protein that directly modifies immune cell behavior. The engineered protein undergoes a controllable conformational change during specific light exposure by wavelength and duration. Light activation induces extended cell protrusions fostering cellular transmigration. In the absence of light, the protein reverts to its original structure. Using 3D tumor spheroid models, results with engineered immune cells showed the spheroid’s disappearance or hollowing out.

Application & Market Utility

Solid tumors in vivo are protected by a dense extracellular matrix that prohibits immune cell infiltration during CAR-T immunotherapy. Immune cells have limited antitumor activity and survival in this hypoxia and low-nutrient environment. Solid tumors make up about 90% of adult human cancers and 40% of childhood cancers. The successful arrival of immune cells at and infiltration into the targeted tumors are the prerequisite for effective cell-based immunotherapies to improve patient survival. The invention avoids the use of costly chemotherapy agents or tumor-targeting peptides.

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