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Gene-editing stem cells to improve immunotherapies

  • Researcher: Dr Pierre Guermonprez
  • Institution: Kings College London, UK
  • Award Amount: £242,312 for 3 years from 1st March 2018
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Gene-editing stem cells to improve immunotherapies
Immunotherapies for cancer are hot topic at the moment. And if you follow the news you’ll know gene-editing using the recently discovered CRISPR technology is also high on the agenda. Dr Pierre Guermonprez, based at King’s College London, is interested in using a bit of both with his grant from Worldwide Cancer Research.

Dr Guermonprez and his team want to see if they can use gene-editing to technology to engineer a special type of immune cell, called a dendritic cell, which could be used to help boost a person’s immune system in order to make other treatments work more effectively. They plan to develop new laboratory methods for coaxing stem cells (these cells are capable of becoming any cell in the body) to turn into dendritic cells that could be used for therapy. Using this method they will then be able to tweak the genetics of the stem cells using CRISPR to see if they can produce dendritic cells that are able to induce a strong immune response. The development of these novel techniques will hopefully pave the way for the development of a new type of cancer therapy that could bolster the strength of other drugs.
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