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Physico-Chemical Approaches to Understanding and Developing Cancer Immunotherapies: Nano Seminar Series

Seminar | September 29 | 2-3 p.m. | 180 Tan Hall | Note change in location

Prof. James R. Heath, Cal Tech, Chemistry

Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute

At the heart of most cancer immunotherapies are specific molecular interactions between the principle cancer cell killers, T cells, and the tumor-associated peptide antigens that are presented within the tumor environment.

I will discuss 2 separate projects relevant to understanding and harnessing these interactions. The first is a microchip/nanotech based single cell tool that is used for the analysis of tumor tissues and peripheral blood. The assay provides a high throughput approach for identifying the tumor antigens and the T cell receptor genes that specifically bind to those antigens. The approach is being developed to inform the design of personalized cancer immunotherapies for a variety of cancers. The second project I will discuss is related to certain patients who have tumors that, when exposed to certain molecular signals from the T cells, can evolve to develop drug resistance. I will discuss statistical physics approaches towards understanding how that resistance process evolves. Those approaches yield specific, testable predictions for molecular interventions that can halt resistance development.