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BIOE Seminar Series: Rohan Fernandes
Friday, October 6, 2017
9:00 a.m.
Pepco Room (1105), Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building
For More Information:
Dr. Steven Jay

Dr. Rohan Fernandes
Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation
Children's National Medical Center

Engineering Nano-Immunotherapies for Cancer

Immunotherapies have revolutionized the treatment of cancer because they offer the potential for robust and persistent treatment responses. However, not every cancer patient responds equally to immunotherapy. For example, immune checkpoint inhibitors, an exciting class of immunotherapies, have yielded dramatic treatment responses in previously untreated cancers such as metastatic melanoma. However, only about 20-30% of melanoma patients respond to these agents and the responses are associated with immune-related adverse events. Motivated by this need for increasing the benefits of immunotherapies to a larger proportion of cancer patients, our team is designing “Nano-Immunotherapies” that synergistically combine the advantages of the fields of nanotechnology and immunotherapy to treat cancer. The goal of these ensemble approaches is to tip the “cancer-immune set point” to a favorable immunological profile that is more responsive to therapy. Two examples of nano-immunotherapies will be presented. In the first example, we utilize nanoparticles and immune checkpoint inhibitors to elicit more robust treatment responses from endogenous immune cells. In the second example, we utilize nanoparticles to modify ex vivo expanded T cells and adoptively transfer these enhanced T cells for improved therapeutic responses in vivo. These preliminary studies are important milestones along the path of clinical translation of our nano-immunotherapies for cancer.   

About the Speaker

The overarching theme of Dr. Fernandes' research is engineering nanoparticles as novel therapy and diagnostic agents for treating diseases, particularly cancer. This research builds on his training and expertise in the fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology. Over the course of his scientific career, he has authored 28 publications (eight as senior author) and his work has been cited over 1,000 times with several publications in top journals in the fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology, including Nature, Nanotechnology, ACS Nano, Nanomedicine, and Small. The main focus of this project is to design nanoimmunotherapies, which leverage the advantages of
nanotechnology and immunotherapy, for cancer.

This Event is For: Public

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