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Cellular “Backpacks” to Slow Tumor Growth
Macrophages are the body’s multipurpose defense agents, patrolling for pathogens and engulfing cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes, and even cancer cells. But cancerous tumors have evolved an insidious defense mechanism: they can switch arriving macrophages from an anti-cancer state to a pro-cancer state, in which they help promote the tumor’s growth. As a result, attempts...
OMNIVAX: Broadly Deployable Infection Vaccine Platform
OMNIVAX is an immuno-material-based vaccine platform technology able to create safe and effective therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines against viral and bacterial threats. Its modular approach enables the rapid creation of vaccines for pathogens using known and unknown antigens. Current approaches include vaccines against some viral diseases.
Bone Marrow-Like Scaffolds for Accelerating Immune Reconstitution
An implantable bone marrow cryogel to accelerate the full reconstitution of the immune system, including T cell immunity, in patients that received chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. This could provide an off-the-shelf, material-based solution for patients with severe blood disorders whose immunity is recovering only slowly after treatment.
FcMBL: Broad-Spectrum Pathogen Capture for Infectious Diseases
Microbial infection is the cause of life-threatening cases of sepsis, meningitis and multiple other diseases that are major causes of death world-wide. Equally prevalent are pathogenic contaminants in our environment, food, and manufacturing processes. In each case, the presence of dangerous microbes must be confirmed, and when they are found, they need to be removed,...
Single-Cell Encapsulation for Improved Cell Therapies
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are valued for their ability to secrete compounds that modulate the body’s immune system, making them an attractive solution for existing problems with cell therapies including host-vs-graft disease and organ transplant rejections. However, MSCs are rapidly cleared from the body and can come under fire from the immune system. Efforts to...
Biomaterial Scaffolds for T Cell Expansion
Immunotherapy, or tweaking the body’s own immune system to treat disease, is attracting significant attention in the medical field for its potential to offer long-lasting cures with fewer side effects than chemotherapy or other drugs. One type of immunotherapy involves isolating T cells (a type of white blood cell) from a patient’s body, sometimes modifying...
Implantable Cancer Vaccine
The implantable cancer vaccine is an aspirin-sized disc that is implanted under the skin and serves as an artificial lymph node, recruiting and training a patient's own immune cells to find and kill their cancer cells. It was validated in a Phase I clinical trial at the Wyss Institute, and is currently being developed by Novartis to treat melanoma.
T Cell Traps
T cells, a subtype of white blood cells, play key roles in cell-mediated immunity, be it to fight infections and cancer or, when corrupted, to react against the body’s own cells in more than 80 autoimmune diseases, including type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and others. However, isolating disease-related T cells from the body...