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Publications of the Week

Discovery of a Transferrin Receptor 1-Binding Aptamer and Its Application in Cancer Cell Depletion for Adoptive T Cell Therapy Manufacturing

By August 12, 2022No Comments

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This week we profile a recent publication in Journal of the American Chemical Society from Emmeline Cheng (pictured, third from left), Ian Cardle (third from right), Nataly Kacherovsky (left), and the laboratory of Dr. Suzie Pun (right) at UW.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

Our group develops synthetic materials for biomedical applications including cancer immunotherapy, chronic kidney disease treatment, and trauma care.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

This publication reports a new high-affinity aptamer that binds to the transferrin receptor, also called CD71. Aptamers are oligonucleotides that fold into tertiary structures and can bind with high affinity to targets such as proteins. CD71 is overexpressed in rapidly growing cells, including many malignant cells. We show that the aptamer can be used to remove circulating malignant cells in the blood, improving the safety of cell therapy manufacturing practices.  We also collaborate with a team of biochemists from City College of New York to understand how the aptamer binds to CD71.

What are the next steps for this research?

We are applying our method for aptamer identification and characterization to additional relevant proteins in cell therapy applications. In addition, because CD71 is also expressed at the blood-brain barrier, we are exploring applications of the aptamer for brain delivery.

If you’d like us to mention your funding sources, please list them.

We are currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. The work developed in the publication was also partially supported by Bristol Myers Squibb.

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