Disease Focus: Infectious Disease


Persistent Off-the-Shelf meACE2-CAR-IL-15 NK Cells Derived from CD34(+) Cord Blood Stem Cells to Prevent and Treat COVID-19

Research Objective To develop and characterize meACE-2-CAR-IL15 NK cells expressing a mutated ACE2 and IL-15, allowing specific killing of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells and long in vivo persistence of the engineered cells. Impact To provide a timely, novel, and effective cell therapy for COVID-19, which has no FDA-approved vaccines and only remdesivir has received an emergency-use approval. […]

Identifying HLA Class I Restricted Peptides That Induce CD8+ T Cells Against SARS-CoV-2

Research Objective A vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 Impact There is a clear need for a vaccine to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus that is effective, can be rapidly produced and can be scaled for worldwide demand. Major Proposed Activities Identify structural regions of SARS-Cov-2 that can inhibit viral entry Identify potential regions […]

Application of PGE2/BPV, a muscle stem cell targeting therapeutic, to the treatment of COVID-19 associated diaphragm atrophy

Research Objective Intramuscular delivery of 2 repurposed FDA approved drugs to activate diaphragm stem cells to augment regeneration and restore strength to COVID-19 patients with diaphragm atrophy from ventilation. Impact Currently effective treatments are lacking for diaphragm atrophy due to ventilation to treat COVID-19. Our treatment will promote full recovery of such patients. Major Proposed […]

Development of a novel PIKFYVE kinase inhibitor for the treatment of COVID-19

Research Objective Alveolar type II cells are the stem cells of the lung, and they are killed by SARS-CoV-2. We will determine if a novel PIKFYVE kinase inhibitor prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection of type II cells. Impact Although PIKFYVE inhibition blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection, no known PIKFYVE inhibitors have suitable drug-like properties. We would validate a novel […]

Biomaterial vaccine to enhance the formation of SARS-CoV-2-specific T memory stem cells

Research Objective The objective of this project is to develop an injectable biomaterial platform that can induce TMSCs and boost immunoactivation to vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, which will help protect elderly people. Impact This approach will boost T memory stem cell production to enhance immunization, and address the low/weak immunoresponses to vaccines, especially in the elderly […]

Stem cell-based rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes and T cell receptors for therapeutic use

Research Objective We will identify SAR-CoV-2 T cell epitopes for vaccine development and specific TCRs for adoptive T cell therapy using a stem cell-based platform to generate specialized dendritic cells in vitro. Impact New methods to rapidly identify T cell epitopes would greatly accelerate development of vaccines and TCR-based therapeutics, and in the setting of […]

Repurposing Aminoadamantane Nitrate Compounds to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Viral Activity and to Protect the Brain from Viral-Related Damage

Research Objective The objective is to screen a series of aminoadamantane nitrate compounds for their ability to protect hiPSC-derived neurons from SARS-CoV-2-related damage and to block SARS-CoV-2 activity. Impact If successful, our screen would identify a drug candidate for further development that would protect neurons from SARS-CoV-2-related damage and also inhibit SARS-CoV-2 activity. Major Proposed […]

Identifying a lead compound for COVID19 using high throughput screening with lung stem cell organoids

Research Objective We propose to use a lung stem cell based organoid to identify a new compound for COVID-19 by screening a library of FDA approved compounds that could be repurposed for COVID-19 infection. Impact If successful, we will find a therapy to treat COVID-19 infection and prevent the lung complications that are so deadly. […]

Safety “Clinical Trial” of the Cardiac Liability of COVID19 Polytherapy

A First-in-Class Treatment for Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy Via Multimodal Immune System Engineering

Research Objective We propose to discover genome- and epigenome-edited allogeneic T cells engineered to selectively target JCV as a potentially lifesaving treatment for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Impact If successful, we would revolutionize treatment for PML patients in whom T cell immunity cannot be restored or boosted and unable to wait for adoptive transfer of […]