Hello! This week I’ll discuss the interviews I conducted as part of my senior project. I had the privilege of talking with Dr. Hans Snoeck and Dr. Mamonkin this month. I’m very grateful that they took the time to speak with me on CAR T-cells and the immune system.
Interview with Dr. Hans Snoeck
Dr. Hans Snoeck is a Professor of Medicine at Columbia University studying blood stem cells and the immune system. He’s worked on immunological diseases such as HIV and leukemia, and currently focuses on lung diseases. In particular, he uses stem cells to build artificial lungs.
Since Dr. Snoeck works with blood stem cells, I thought it would be wonderful to pick his brain on using induced pluripotent stem cells to make CAR T-cells:
“There is only one good avenue for T cell differentiation, but it’s a circuitous route and it’s hard to find the right way to go.” – Dr. Snoeck
“We already have stem cell banks with cord blood and blood from bone marrow transplants, and we can use these cells to make induced pluripotent stem cells.” – Dr. Snoeck
Dr. Snoeck helped me understand that there are major hurdles that scientists must overcome in order for stem cells to be used to create “Off-the-Shelf” CAR T-cells. However, in theory, they are a wonderful option.
Interview with Dr. Maksim Mamonkin
Dr. Maksim Mamonkin is an Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine studying T cells, NK cells, and immune cell therapies. Dr. Mamonkin and his team recently published a paper detailing a new method to create “Off-the-Shelf” CAR T-cells. Previously, I’ve referred to this method as the “ADR” method and the “Mass Destruction” method.
“There are many options for an optimal cell type for “Off-the-Shelf” CAR T-cells. You can use NK cells, iPSCs, donor-derived T-cells, etc…. The answer may not be one cell, and the best cell may depend on the tumor type.” – Dr. Mamonkin
“We must engineer cells with predictable persistence.” – Dr. Mamonkin
“We’re living in a sci-fi time without the fi- part.” – Dr. Mamonkin
Dr. Mamonkin helped me understand that there are many different cells that can be used to create “Off-the-Shelf” CAR T-cells. Additionally, HLA deletion and other methods of immune evasion may be viable strategies if the engineered cells don’t persist in the body for long periods of time.
Entangled Strands Podcast
My interviews with Dr. Snoeck and Dr. Mamonkin have been recorded and will be turned into podcast episodes later this month. While I was sure to ask them about “Off-the-Shelf” CAR T-cells, I asked my guests about how they got into science, their current research, and what the next decade has in store for medicine.
Many thanks to Dr. Snoeck and Dr. Mamonkin for the interviews. Stay tuned for the release of my podcast!