Engineering the TGFβ Receptor to Enhance the Therapeutic Potential of Natural Killer Cells as an Immunotherapy for Neuroblastoma.


Institute for Biomedical Sciences, George Washington University, Washington D.C. [Email]


The ability of natural killer (NK) cells to lyse allogeneic targets, without the need for explicit matching or priming, makes them an attractive platform for cell-based immunotherapy. Umbilical cord blood is a practical source for generating banks of such third-party NK cells for "off-the-shelf" cell therapy applications. NK cells are highly cytolytic, and their potent antitumor effects can be rapidly triggered by a lack of HLA expression on interacting target cells, as is the case for a majority of solid tumors, including neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a leading cause of pediatric cancer-related deaths and an ideal candidate for NK-cell therapy. However, the antitumor efficacy of NK cells is limited by immunosuppressive cytokines in the tumor microenvironment, such as TGFβ, which impair NK cell function and survival.

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