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Yale Cancer Center Study Shows Development of a New Class of Immune Gene Therapy for Cancer Treatment

June 22, 2020
by Anne Doerr

In a new study led by Yale Cancer Center (YCC), researchers have developed a new form of immunotherapy that elicits anti-tumor immunity through multiplexed activation of endogenous genes or MAEGI. The findings were reported June 22 at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) virtual annual meeting II. “MAEGI is a versatile and highly scalable strategy to elicit potent immune responses against cancer, distinct from existing cancer therapies,” said Sidi Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and Systems Biology Institute, a member of YCC and lead author of the research. “Further development of this new MAEGI modality may provide a brand-new option to the treatment of various cancer types.”

Immunotherapy has transformed cancer treatment. However, current immunotherapy modalities face various limitations. Study scientists leveraged clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats or CRISPR activation to directly augment the in situ expression of endogenous genes, thereby the presentation of tumor antigens, leading to dramatic anti-tumor immune responses. This treatment modality led to alterations of the tumor microenvironment, marked by enhanced T cell infiltration and anti-tumor immune signatures.

“Our team will next work to optimize MAEGI as a novel immune-gene therapy approach to elicit a potent and specific immune response to tumors based on their unique genetic composition,” Chen added.

Submitted by Jessica Collins on June 22, 2020