Welcometo the Romee Lab for NK Cell Gene Manipulation and Therapy
Research focus of our 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. In collaboration with Professor Jianzhu Chen's group at MIT (https://chen-lab.mit.edu) we are developing novel TCR-like CARs against liquid and solid malignancies with otherwise limited tumor specific antigen expression on the cell surface. Furthermore, using advanced CRISPR and non-CRISPR based gene editing approaches our lab is developing novel secondary arming strategies aimed at overcoming highly immunosuppressive TME particularly in the solid tumor setting.
In clinic we are evaluating 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.