The Humans of the Wyss series features members of the Wyss community discussing how they think about their work, the influences that help shape them as scientists, and their collaborations at the Wyss Institute and beyond.
In this installment of our Immuno-Materials Edition, we talk to Sandeep Koshy, a graduate student in David Mooney’s lab at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He talks about his work on biomaterials-based delivery systems and how he envisions his research impacting the world.
What drives you?
I’m determined to make an impact on how cancer is treated using the immune system. There is just so much potential to benefit human health using this approach, and I’m dedicated to making a contribution.
You’re working on biomaterials-based delivery systems, tell us more.
I work on biomaterials-based delivery systems that can present drugs to immune cells in a way that trains them to fight cancer. The smart materials that we are developing are able to improve the safety and targeting of these drugs to the appropriate immune cells to get better treatment outcomes.
Share with us some of the challenges you’re facing.
One of the biggest challenges right now is our limited knowledge of how the human immune system interacts with tumors. Some patients experience dramatic response to current immunotherapy drugs while others show no benefit. Understanding why these differences exist and what really drives productive immune responses against cancer are critical to designing better material-based immunotherapy systems that can be used in all patients.
So, how do you envision your research impacting the world?
Immuno-materials, the marriage of biomaterials with immunotherapy, has massive potential for impacting cancer patients by improving the safety and activity of existing drugs. Additionally, drugs that have “failed” in clinical trials due to toxicity and poor efficacy could potentially be revived using these approaches, providing tremendous cost-savings to companies performing drug development.