Dr. Manale Karam
Natural Killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes of the innate immune system with potent cytotoxic activity against cancer cells. However, cancer patients often exhibit abnormal NK cell numbers, phenotypes and functions, which allow cancer evasion of NK surveillance. Therefore, appropriate NK cell transfer holds a considerable potential for anti-cancer therapy. Our aim is to produce, using ex vivo cultures, NK cells in optimal quantities and anti-tumoral function for adoptive transfer in cancer patients. Therefore, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are isolated from cord blood and differentiated into NK cells by using a system based on Hoxb4 growth factor delivery in addition to a cocktail of soluble cytokines. The yield and anti-tumoral activity of these HSC-differentiated NK cells will be improved by using different experimentally engineered systems for subsequent cancer treatment in mouse models and cancer patients.