Scientifically defined as short, single-stranded oligonucleotides that have specific tendencies to bind to macromolecules. They can be developed by Systemic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential (SELEX) method. We focus in developing novel Aptamers as immunotherapies to target specific effectors within the immune system and to study their mechanisms of action as well as the mechanisms of resistance to them. In doing so, we hope to harness a patient’s immune system to fight against cancer. We also Investigate the role of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) - Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) axis on the immune-modulators within the tumor microenvironment.
Vaccines explored for cancer and autoimmune disease treatment have been based generally on injectable vector systems used to control foreign bodies, to which the immune system evolved to respond naturally. What we know is that these vector systems may not be effective at presenting disease specific antigens to the immune system in a manner capable of producing an efficient defensive response. In an effort to correct this issue, we are using an engineered salmonella-based vector that exploits a type III secretion system (T3SS) to deliver a selected antigen in the cytosol of antigen-presenting cells. Our goal is to develop a novel oral vaccine against cancer cells/autoimmune disease using an Attenuated-Salmonella as live vector. This is based on using newly constructed SPI2-T3SS oral Salmonella vaccine against selected disease specific antigen and evaluating its immunogenicity and anti-tumor efficacy in murine cancer models. To facilitate its translation application, these vaccines are being tested alone or with adjuvants.
3. Small Molecules Drugs:
The focus of this project is to screen these newly gold-based/platinum-based compounds in an effort to find specific ones that show promising activity against a number of different cancers in vitro and in vivo. We seek to understand the manner in which these potential new anticancer agents work. Therefore, we are completely dissecting their specific mechanisms of action. The goal is to develop multi-type cancer fighting drugs with increased efficacy while simultaneously providing for a better patient outcome with fewer adverse-affects.