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Novel Immunotherapeutics for Cigarette-Smoking Associated Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Yong Zhang,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30KT1021 Award: $990,000
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: New Investigator Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. Smoking cigarettes leads to increased risks of developing AML. Despite effectiveness of consolidation chemotherapy, the five-year survival rate of AML is less than 30% for adult patients. Novel treatment strategies with significantly enhanced efficacy are still urgently required. Compared with conventional chemotherapy, therapeutic agents that can effectively activate the immune system for robustly destroying AML cells have emerged as increasingly important anti-cancer therapies, attributing to their remarkable therapeutic efficacy and specificity. Herein, we propose to develop a novel class of therapeutics that can selectively redirect and activate the immune cells against AML cells for killing to address the TRDRP research priority of Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Biology through promoting high-impact translational research aimed at bringing new therapies and patient care strategies to community clinical settings. Our proposed immunotherapeutics are unique and distinguished from conventional regimens, which prove to be unsafe and lack of effectiveness. Specifically, we creatively combine knowledge and technologies from cell biology, protein engineering, and nanotechnology to rationally design and generate innovative nanoparticles with the power to control the immune system for potent and selective attacking of AML cells. Successful completion of this work will lead to the development of a new class of therapeutic regimens for better treatment of AML as well as a generally applicable and versatile platform for production of next-generation immunotherapeutics with high impact to combating many other types of cancer. The findings from these preclinical studies as proof of concept will provide the basis for following clinical trials. The developed innovative immunotherapeutics with excellent pharmacological properties are expected to benefit Californians with cigarette-smoking related AML.