Dr. James Allison’s Nobel Prize Winning Technology Delivered by Stem Cells
Scientists at UCLA reported this week in Nature Biomedical Engineering that they had constructed a stem cell conjugated to a platelet that had been decorated with anti-PD-1 antibodies. James Allison, Ph.D. developed “checkpoint inhibitors” while a professor at Berkeley beginning in the 1990s, for which he was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Basically, this “checkpoint inhibitor” technology blocks the tumor cells from rendering T-cells ineffective, thus allowing a renormalization of the immune system to once again attack the tumor cells.
The UCLA scientist have now have used those inhibitors, anti-PD-1 antibodies, coupled to a stem cell using conjugation of a platelet loaded with the anti-PD-1 antibodies, to deliver the antibody to the bone marrow. In this manner, stem cell homing of haematopoietic stem cells to bone marrow serves as a targeting and delivery device for the checkpoint inhibitors. This cellular combination-mediated drug delivery strategy was shown to significantly augment the therapeutic efficacy of checkpoint blockade in a mouse model. This is the sort of out-of-the-box stem cell research that should be supported by agencies such as CIRM, but was, instead, supported by the Sloan Foundation, UCLA, UNC and NCSU, and the National Science Foundation of China.
Hu Q et al (2018) Conjugation of haematopoietic stem cells and platelets decorated with anti-PD-1 antibodies augments anti-leukaemia efficacy. Nature Biomedical Engineering, https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7033481