Natural Killer Cell Based Immunotherapy of Cancer
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  • Natural Killer Cell Based Immunotherapy of Cancer

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Title: Natural Killer Cell Based Immunotherapy of Cancer

Speaker: Tolga Sütlü

Date/Time: 25/02/2015, 12:40 - 13:30

Place: FENS G035

Abstract: The development of any malignancy is under close surveillance by NK cells as well as other members of the immune system. Nevertheless, malignant cells find ways to escape the immune system, resulting in defective immunity secondary to tumor development. Therefore, to use autologous NK cells effectively for tumor immunotherapy, a reversal of phenotypic and functional defects is of paramount importance. 

This research primarily investigates the feasibility and potential of ex vivo expanded NK cells in cancer immunotherapy, producing a system that has the capacity to expand polyclonal and highly cytotoxic NK cells showing selective anti-tumor activity. 
Furthermore, both as a basic method to identify these interactions, and as part of further plans to use genetically retargeted NK cells in cancer immunotherapy, we have investigated methods for efficient lentiviral genetic modification of NK cells. Our studies have revealed an optimized stimulation and genetic modification process that greatly enhances lentiviral gene delivery. 
The work presented here aims to bring us closer to optimal ex vivo manipulation of NK cells for cancer immunotherapy. Clinical trials with expanded NK cells as well as further preclinical development of NK cell genetic modification processes are warranted.


Bio: Dr. Tolga Sütlü received his B.Sc. degree in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering from Sabanci University in 2004. After graduation he worked for one year as a Molecular Biologist in Acibadem Genetic Diagnosis and Cell Therapy Center (Istanbul) before moving to Sweden in 2005 to attend Stockholm Research School in Molecular Life Sciences – a one year collaborative program including Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm University and The Royal Institute of Technology. Upon completion of this program, he was enrolled for Ph.D. studies at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge. He has received a Ph.D. degree in Medical Sciences from the Karolinska Institutet in 2012 with a thesis titled “Expansion and Genetic Modification of Human Natural Killer Cells for Adoptive Immunotherapy of Cancer”.

After doing a further 1.5 years of post-doctoral research at Karolinska Institutet, he moved back to Istanbul/Turkey and started working at Sabancı University as an Instructor/Course Coordinator in February 2014. Since June 2014, he is working as a postdoctoral researcher and setting up his own research group at Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center. He has received the returning scientist grant (2232), career startup grant (3501) and scientific and technological research funding grant (1001) from TUBITAK.
He has a special interest and high-level of experience in fields such as molecular biology, primary cell culture, multi-color flow cytometry, cell and gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy. His goal is to develop novel and more efficient methods for cell and gene therapy.