Reprogramming Tumor Immunogenicity with STING-Activating Nanoparticles
John T. Wilson, PhD
Dr. Wilson’s group postulates that improved outcomes to immune checkpoint blockade can be obtained through therapeutic interventions that “reprogram” the TME towards a more immunogenic, T cell-inflamed phenotype. The stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway is a major mechanism by which the innate immune system senses cancer cells and serves as a central link between innate and adaptive immunity in tumor immune surveillance. His group has pioneered “smart” polymer nanoparticles (NPs) that potently activate STING signaling by enhancing cytosolic delivery of 2’3’-cGAMP (cGAMP), the natural and endogenous high affinity STING ligand. In this project, they set out to develop STING-NPs and assess the STING-NP’s ability to increase tumor immunogenicity. They are also developing the STING-NPs as a platform for personalized neoantigen-targeted immunotherapy.
Dr. Wilson pursued his PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology. To support his research on the development of nanoparticle-based cancer vaccines, he was awarded a Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University.