Wei Chen, MD, PhD
Immunotherapy of Leukemia with Dendritic Cell-Tumor Hybrid Vaccines
This research project will develop a new type of human leukemia vaccine using a novel electrofusion technology. Leukemia cells will be fused with the cells that regulate body immune system function to form a hybrid cell. The hybrid cells will carry tumor-derived information (proteins) to activate the immune white blood cells and direct these immune cells to kill leukemias. In this research proposal, Dr. Chen and his team will study how to use such hybrid cells as a vaccine for potential use in the treatment of human chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This study will form the basis for initiating clinical trials to apply this vaccine strategy for, but not limited to, the treatment of leukemia. Dr. Chen will fuse human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells with autologous or allogeneic dendritic cells for study. The proposed experiments will (1) investigate the immunogenicity and antigen presentation capacity of the human DC-CLL fusion hybrids: (2) determine whether leukemia-specific T cells can be effectively induced by priming with autologous or allogeneic DC-CLL hybrids; and (3) study the integrins, chemokines and extracellular matrix in DC, CLL, and their fusion hybrids in migration, adhesion, and T cell activation. This study will form the basis for initiating clinical trials to apply this vaccine strategy for, but not limited to, the treatment of leukemia.