Our Research The use of human cells as therapeutic entities has shown great promise and is considered the “third pillar of medicine”. Cell therapies have the potential to address critical, unmet needs in the treatment of human cancer and numerous inflammatory conditions. Compared to small molecule drugs and nanoparticles, cells are highly versatile and can respond to, interact with, and stimulate their microenvironment in unique ways. In fact, cells can deliver an array of biologics through cell-cell contacts, tunneling nanotubes, and the release of cytokines, growth factors, extracellular vesicles, and exosomes. Finally, cells detect and home to diseased tissues within the body, which is critical to their use in delivery of therapeutic agents in a precise manner with reduced off-target effects. Our laboratory’s goal is to understand these cellular functions more thoroughly and use this knowledge along with powerful bioengineering methods to develop improved cell-based therapeutics to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases. Our research program covers a broad scope of multidisciplinary areas including cancer biology, immunology, virology, cell engineering, genetic engineering, signal transduction, biotechnology, and preclinical models of clinically relevant diseases.

Time-lapse video of Lifeact-RFP hTERT MSCs and derived Cargocytes (red) migrating through 1 µm and 15µm constrictions inside a microfluidic device towards chemoattractant (FBS). The enucleated Cargocytes migrate faster through the small constrictions, likely due to the absence of the large/dense nucleus. The MSCs and Cargocytes were stained with nuclear dye Hoechst 33342 (blue).Video courtesy of J. Keys (Lammerding Lab, Cornell).

Spotlight

  • Huawei was selected to give an oral presentation at ASGCT 2019 about our work with oncolytic viruses
  • Huawei won a travel grant for ASGCT 2019, Congratulations!
  • Three abstracts on cargocyte therapeutics to be presented at ASGCT 2019
  • Cargocyte IL-12 data to be presented at AACR 2019
  • First public presentation of cargocyte platform at ASCB December 2018
  • UCSD’s CDDI awards lab grant for developing cargocyte cell medicines 2018
  • Cytonus Therapeutics Inc established to produce cargocyte medicines
  • Patent on cargocyte platform technology filed 2018
  • Huawei’s paper published in Cell Discovery 2018
  • Ken’s paper published in Cancer Research 2018
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