Intratumoral Collagen-retained Immunotherapy
Immunotherapeutic interventions are providing substantial therapeutic benefit for many cancer patients. However, immunotherapies can unleash an immune attack against not only tumors but also healthy tissues. As a result, many promising immunotherapies, such as cytokines, face dose-limiting toxicities which curb their efficacy and clinical translation. An enduring challenge in the field is to improve the therapeutic index of these agents.
Momin will be discussing collagen anchoring of intratumorally-injected cytokines to the tumor extracellular matrix as a potential strategy for localizing their immunomodulatory effects to the tumor. We find that intratumorally-injected cytokines that are retained on collagen and large in molecular size can exert profound therapeutic effects while largely sparing from systemic exposure or toxicity. In examining the micropharmacokinetic rules of intratumoral delivery and collagen-anchoring, we now aim to inform further improvements to our cytokine therapies and the numerous clinical agents that are also locally administered. Collagen anchoring is a versatile strategy that can be broadly applied to improve biologics in and beyond oncology.
Noor Momin is an NSF graduate research fellow in the laboratory of Prof. K. Dane Wittrup at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Her Biological Engineering Ph.D. thesis focuses on engineering improved cytokine therapies for the treatment of cancer. This work was featured on the cover of Science Translational Medicine and has been licensed for human drug development. In 2019, MIT recognized Momin as a Rising Star in Chemical Engineering. Prior to MIT, Momin earned her bachelors in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. Her research interests broadly encompass localized drug delivery and spatio-temporal immunoengineering.