Engineering NK Cells to Treat Cancers Driven by Adenosine Immunosuppression

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Researchers at Purdue University have developed a cell therapy capable of exerting a cytotoxic effect on CD73 expressing cancer cells. Adenosine immunosuppression is a regulatory mechanism of the immune system that protects against autoimmunity. However, this mechanism also drives cancers that express the enzyme, CD73. This enzyme produces adenosine, a molecule that inhibits immune cells. The Purdue technology circumvents this adenosine-mediated immunosuppression to treat cancer.

Purdue's researchers engineered a type of immune cell, the natural killer (NK) cell, to target and kill cancer cells. The cells are engineered to express a protein consisting of an extracellular CD73 antibody fragment for targeting and an intracellular signaling domain that activates the NK cell to destroy the cancer cell. This potential therapy circumvents adenosine immunosuppression in the solid tumor microenvironment, selectively targeting cancer cells with engineered immune cells. The engineered NK cells have been successfully tested against glioblastoma cell lines and in vivo in lung carcinoma models, supporting this technology as a transformative cancer treatment to effectively target solid tumors.


-Selective cancer therapeutic
-NK cell mediated cytotoxicity

Potential Applications
-Cancer therapeutic
-Circumvent adenosine immunosuppression
Apr 27, 2020

Apr 25, 2019
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
The Convergence Center
101 Foundry Drive, Suite 2500
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Phone: (765) 588-3475
Fax: (765) 463-3486