CANCELED - CBE Seminar: Clinically Scalable Dendritic Extracellular Blebs for a Cancer Vaccine

Engineering Lecture Hall (ELH) 110
Melissa Thone

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
UC Irvine

Abstract: Immunotherapy educates a patient’s own immune system to fight disease. In particular, vaccines are designed to prevent or treat diseases, such as cancer, by evoking T cell immune responses for disease-specific antigens. Professional antigen presenting bone marrow dendritic cells (BMDCs) pulsed with antigens have demonstrated the ability to activate T cells to eliminate tumors. While BMDC-based vaccines are promising, they suffer from poor control after administration and poor storage capability. We address these challenges by employing a chemically induced production technique that initiates rapid blebbing of the BMDC membrane to produce high yields of microscale extracellular blebs (EBs). EBs are identical in maturation state and molecular presentation to their parent cells. Furthermore, EBs are locked in place and unable to undergo changes after administration. Both in vitro and in vivo, EBs from mature BMDCs induced potent T cell responses and were successful at preventing tumor growth in a tumor challenge. BMDC EBs present a scalable option for production of a cell-free vaccine that potentially meets clinical requirements.

Bio: Melissa Thone completed her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014 and is currently completing her doctorate at UC Irvine in chemical and biomolecular engineering, working with Young Jik Kwon. Her research focuses on designing methods to induce cell membrane blebbing for scalable production of extracellular blebs, a promising platform to replace naturally produced extracellular vesicles. Her work currently involves applying extracellular blebs in gene therapy and immunotherapy, and the list is continuously expanding.

Host: GSA of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering