Jeffery M. Coller, PhD
Associate Professor, Center for RNA Molecular Biology-General Medicinejmc71@case.edu 316.368.0299 (o)
Member, Molecular Oncology Program
Cancer immunotherapy is treatment that induces the immune system to attack tumor cells and is a promising therapy for a wide variety of malignancies. The Coller lab is working to develop a novel RNA-based reagent that will improve all T cell cancer immunotherapies by enhancing the proliferation capacity of tumor targeting immune cells. If successful, we will be able to partner with any corporate or academic entity developing T cell based cancer immunotherapies to improve the efficacy of their T cell therapy. In vitro transcribed (IVT) mRNA is emerging as a promising new drug class capable of delivering genetic information by transiently expressing proteins by structurally resembling natural mRNA. The advantage of mRNA (rather than integrating vectors carrying DNA) is that it poses no risk of genomic integration and will not transform the target cells to an immortalized or malignant state. Notably, our collaborators at Houston Methodist have recently shown that mRNA encoding the gene hTERT enhances the replicative capacity of human T cells, and increases the antitumor effects of CAR-T cells in an animal model of B-cell malignancy. These studies demonstrate that hTERT mRNA has great potential to improve the therapeutic benefits of CAR-T therapy. Our group is uniquely capable of developing mRNA-based therapeutics as we have developed new technology that can exquisitely control the expression of mRNA in vivo. Using our recent discovery, we are working with our collaborators at Houston Methodist to optimize therapeutic mRNAs for the use in cancer immunotherapy.