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Establishing therapeutic cord blood-derived NK cells for hard-to-treat cancers through omics based and pharmacological activators

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Generating solutions

Status

Active

Competition

Genomic Applications Partnership Program

Genome Centre(s)

GE3LS

Yes

Project Leader(s)

Fiscal Year Project Launched

2024-2025

Project Description

Cancer immunotherapies, such as modified T-cells with Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CAR-T), can elicit strong responses and even cure some blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the drawbacks of CAR-T therapies include poorer responses against solid tumours, autologous cell requirements, high manufacturing costs, and potentially fatal toxicities. These limitations can be overcome with natural killer (NK) cells. These innate immune cells can efficiently kill cancer cells, allowing the development of non-genetically modified NK cells to treat both blood and solid tumour cancers. The anti-tumour activity and response to stimulation of primary cord blood-derived NKs (CB-NK) are superior to those of NK cell lines and are being used in clinical trials in the U.S. and China.

This project will use genomics solutions to improve the clinical management of hard-to-treat cancers like AML through CB-NK cell therapy. It will establish a comprehensive resource for “off-the-shelf” NK cell immunotherapy. Its unique methodologies will enable the processing, storage and recovery of CB-NK cells; optimisation and simplification of their clinical use; and national distribution of the therapeutic CB-NK cell bank to treat a larger cohort of cancer patients.

The acceleration of CB-NK cell therapies will place Canada at the forefront of this fast-moving and strategically important field. Canadian patients will benefit from safer, more effective immunotherapies with the potential to tackle diverse hard-to-treat cancers, while their “off-the-shelf” nature will significantly lower healthcare costs. Economic benefits include increased revenues associated with licensing and development of commercial products, as well as economic growth and job creation due to innovation in the cell therapy sector, where the global market is growing rapidly.

Photo credit: Isabelle Aubry
From left to right: Jean-François Théberge (Research Assistant), Professor Michel L. Tremblay (Principal Investigator), Chu-Han Feng (Ph.D. student) working with cell cultures in a Biological Safety Cabinet.
Photo credit: Isabelle Aubry
From left to right: Jean-François Théberge (Research Assistant), Chu-Han Feng (Ph.D. student), Professor Michel L. Tremblay (Principal Investigator) processing a cell sample in a centrifuge.
Photo credit: Tomas Pepe
Dr Mathieu Mancini, postdoc in Langlais Lab running a single cell RNA-seq experiment
Photo credit: Tomas Pepe
Dr Mathieu Mancini, postdoc in Langlais Lab running a quality control prior to a single cell RNA-seq experiment
Photo credit: Tomas Pepe
Dr Mathieu Mancini, postdoc in Langlais Lab loading cells for a single cell RNA-seq experiment
Cord blood bag
Groupe pour la collecte des unités de sang de cordon. De gauche à droite: Dr Richard Brown, Dr Linda Peltier, Dr Pierre Laneuville
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