My current research focuses on developing clinically applicable RNA switches regulated by small molecules such as phenobarbital and tamoxifen. One application of this RNA switch technology is the modulation of transgene expression in primary human T cells, which can be genetically modified to express tumor-specific receptors and serve as treatment for otherwise intractable diseases such as glioblastoma. While T cells expanded ex vivo have shown promise in tumor-targeting therapies, maintaining and controlling the proliferation of engineered T cells in the tumor microenvironment remain a challenge. By implementing regulated RNA switches as regulators of cell proliferation, one could expand the potential of immunotherapy utilizing transgenic T cells to address a wide variety of medical challenges.
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