On the left: an engineered HSC-iNKT cell (blue) attacking a human tumor cell • On the right: senior author, Professor Lili Yang

November 16, 2021

UCLA researchers have made a critical advance in the development of an “off-the-shelf” cancer immunotherapy. Their findings, published today in Cell Reports Medicine, show they have successfully engineered blood stem cells to produce large quantities of normally rare but powerful immune cells, called invariant natural killer T cells. The researchers showed that these engineered (HSC-iNKT) cells can be stored for extended periods, and used safely to treat a wide range of patients with various cancers.

“In order to reach the most patients, we want cell therapies that can be mass-produced, frozen and shipped to hospitals around the world,” said senior author, Lili Yang, a professor of microbiology, immunology & molecular genetics and a researcher with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. This latest report offers great hope for many patients with cancer.

You can read more about the research findings in this press release.