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Graduate Seminar Series: Molecular Stream – Shana Alexander

December 2, 2022 @ 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm EST

Graduate Seminar Series: Molecular Stream
Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for molecular stream presenters.
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Presentation Title: Effect of Fc targeting on induction of T cell responses by DNA origami vaccine
Abstract: Cancer immunotherapy aims to educate the body’s own immune system to fight cancer in ways analogous to how they fend off disease-causing pathogens. As such, cancer therapies targeting T cells, like immune checkpoint blockade and adoptive cell therapy, have revolutionized the field of oncology. However, only a subset of cancers seem to respond because 1) the patient lacks pre-existing T cells that can recognize the tumor and 2) the delivery of the therapeutics is ineffective. Cancer vaccines are a promising class of immunotherapy that I believe can overcome the first barrier. Cancer vaccines promote the expansion of fresh antigen-specific T cells that are better equipped with antitumour functions. They do this by delivering unique molecular identifiers of tumour cells (antigens) and immunostimulatory molecules (adjuvants), to dendritic cells. Dendritic cells baring the vaccine interact with the killer cells of our immune system (T cells) and program them to selectively target tumour cells for destruction. The second barrier, ineffective delivery, can be overcome using DNA nanostructures (DNs) which can achieve targeted co-delivery of vaccine components directly to the target cell. Lastly, I am proposing that controlling the DN cellular uptake pathway by engaging Fc receptors on the surface of dendritic cells may enhance T cell expansion, as demonstrated in viral infections. Therefore, my research will focus on developing an Fc targeted DN vaccine that can enhance antigen presentation and antigen-specific T cell expansion compared to untargeted DN vaccines. The results of my thesis will demonstrate how we can use DNA nanotechnology to design therapeutic cancer vaccines with greater T cell responses leading to increased tumour eradication. The discovery of these principles may be incorporated into many cancer vaccination strategies and thus, will impact the current and future of cancer therapeutics.
Supervisor Name: Leo Chou
Year of Study: 2
Program of Study: PhD
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09
Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821
Password: 483329
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December 2, 2022
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm EST
Event Category: