Grant Award Details

Persistent Off-the-Shelf meACE2-CAR-IL-15 NK Cells Derived from CD34(+) Cord Blood Stem Cells to Prevent and Treat COVID-19
Grant Number: 
DISC2COVID19-11947
Project Objective: 
  • Develop engineered NK cells expressing a mutated extracellular domain of ACE2 and IL-15 for the specific killing of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells with long-term persistence in vivo.
Investigator: 
Disease Focus: 
COVID-19
Infectious Disease
Human Stem Cell Use: 
Adult Stem Cell
Award Value: 
$150,000
Status: 
Active

Grant Application Details

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

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.

Major Proposed Activities

  • To further optimize expansion of umbilical cord blood (UCB) hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and engineer the expanded with the meACE2-CAR-IL15 retrovirus.
  • To differentiate UCB HSCs transduced with meACE2-CAR-IL15 into NK cells, followed by cell expansion.
  • Proof of concept: In vitro evaluation of meACE2-CAR-IL15 NK cells.
  • Proof of concept: In vivo evaluation of meACE2-CAR-IL15 NK cells.
  • Manuscript submission for publication & preparation for an INTERACT meeting with the FDA.
  • N/A
Statement of Benefit to California: 

SARS has presented as a major public health threat in the past. A new SARS, COVID-19, started in December 2019 has rapidly disseminated to worldwide including California with mortality as high as 20% in the elderly and other more vulnerable populations. At present, worldwide COVID-19 patients have over 3.6 million with over 250,000 deaths. Currently, there are no approved COVID-19 vaccines and only remdesivir has received an FDA-approval for the treatment of COVID-19.