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Creators/Authors contains: "Lian, Xiaojun Lance"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Adoptive chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered natural killer (NK) cells have shown promise in treating various cancers. However, limited immunological memory and access to sufficient numbers of allogenic donor cells have hindered their broader preclinical and clinical applications. Here, we first assess eight different CAR constructs that use an anti-PD-L1 nanobody and/or universal anti-fluorescein (FITC) single-chain variable fragment (scFv) to enhance antigen-specific proliferation and anti-tumor cytotoxicity of NK-92 cells against heterogenous solid tumors. We next genetically engineer human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) with optimized CARs and differentiate them into functional dual CAR-NK cells. The tumor microenvironment responsive anti-PD-L1 CAR effectively promoted hPSC-NK cell proliferation and cytotoxicity through antigen-dependent activation of phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3) and pSTAT5 signaling pathways via an intracellular truncated IL-2 receptor β-chain (ΔIL-2Rβ) and STAT3-binding tyrosine-X-X-glutamine (YXXQ) motif. Anti-tumor activities of PD-L1-induced memory-like hPSC-NK cells were further boosted by administering a FITC-folate bi-specific adapter that bridges between a programmable anti-FITC CAR and folate receptor alpha-expressing breast tumor cells. Collectively, our hPSC CAR-NK engineering platform is modular and could constitute a realistic strategy to manufacture off-the-shelf CAR-NK cells with immunological memory-like phenotype for targeted immunotherapy. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  3. Immunotherapy is a powerful technique where immune cells are modified to improve cytotoxicity against cancerous cells to treat cancers that do not respond to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Expressing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) in immune cells, typically T lymphocytes, is a practical modification that drives an immune response against cancerous tissue. CAR-T efficacy is suboptimal in solid tumors due to the tumor microenvironment (TME) that limits T lymphocyte cytotoxicity. In this study, we demonstrate that neutrophils differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells modified with AAVS1-inserted CAR constructs showed a robust cytotoxic effect against prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) expressing LNCaP cells as a model for prostate cancer in vitro. Our results suggest that engineered CAR can significantly enhance the neutrophil anti-tumor effect, providing a new avenue in treating prostate cancers. 
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  4. Abstract Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the leading cause of death in the USA. Cardiomyocytes (CMs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) provide a valuable cell source for regenerative therapy, disease modeling, and drug screening. Here, we established a hPSC line integrated with a mCherry fluorescent protein driven by the alpha myosin heavy chain (aMHC) promoter, which could be used to purify CMs based on the aMHC promoter activity in these cells. Combined with a fluorescent voltage indicator, ASAP2f, we achieved a dual reporter CM platform, which enables purification and characterization of CM subtypes and holds great potential for disease modeling and drug discovery of CVD. 
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