Welcometo the Romee Lab for NK Cell Gene Manipulation and Therapy
Research focus of Romee lab is gene manipulation of the human Natural Killer (NK) cells to enhance their anti-tumor function and simultaneously modulate the tumor microenvironment (TME). NK cells are historically resistant to transduction, however recent advances allow us to achieve high transduction rates in the peripheral blood NK cells. My lab is closely collaborating with Professor Jianzhu Chen's group at MIT (https://chen-lab.mit.edu) to develop next generation CAR constructs with novel immune modulating functions. We are also developing a novel class of immuno-cytokines aimed at selectively targeting the immuno-suppressive cells like MDSCs and Tregs. We described human memory-like NK cells with enhanced anti-tumor activity and in a first in human clinical trial demonstrated safety and promising activity of these cells in advanced AML patients. We are currently testing these memory-like NK cells in combination with novel immune-modulatory agents in patients with advanced malignancies including AML, MDS, platinum refractory head and neck cancer and multiple myeloma. Using flow cytometry, mass cytometry and single cell RNA sequencing on the samples collected from these studies allows us to study key aspects of the in vivo biology of the adoptively transferred memory-like NK cells and their interaction with other immune cells present in the tumor microenvironment. We hope this information will guide us in designing future NK cell based clinical protocols.