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Cryo-storage Biotechnologies for Cell-Based Therapies

Principal supervisor: Professor Matthew I. Gibson, Department of Chemistry

Industry partner: GE Healthcare

Project Title: Cryo-storage Biotechnologies for Cell-Based Therapies

University of registration: University of Warwick

Project outline:

Cancer chemotherapy has been transformed in the past decade by the introduction of immunotherapies. Antibody therapies (such as Herceptin, >$1B/year sales) have made a real impact on people’s lives. The next generation (so called ‘5th pillar’) of chemotherapy is the use of genetically modified T-cells (CAR-T), which function as a living drug. The impact of these treatments cannot be understated, with untreatable cancers being taken to complete remission. However, a key challenge is the price of these therapies which is £100,000’s per patient due to the logistics of obtaining, transfecting, purification and transport of the cells.

This ambitious collaborative project will study the biotechnological processes associated with the transfection and transport steps in cell-based therapies especially those parts which require cold storage of the cells or vectors. The GibsonGroup at Warwick has developed world-first technology in macromolecular (polymer) cryoprotectants which mimic the function of antifreeze proteins in extremophiles species in some of the Earths coldest climates. This allows us to reduce, or eliminate, the need for organic solvent in cryopreservation. (E.g Nat. Comms, 2014, 5, 3244, and 2017, 8 1546 )

This exciting project will combine expertise in new macromolecular cryoprotectants (GibsonGroup at Warwick) with GE Healthcare’s innovative cryopreservation technologies. The GibsonGroup laboratories are split between the Department of Chemistry and Warwick Medical School providing a unique multidisciplinary environment covering synthetic organic chemistry to microbiology and cell biology and is underpinned by world-class analytical facilities. More details about the group can be found on the Gibson Group website.

Chemistry, biochemistry and biology backgrounds are welcome to apply.

Contact: Professor Matthew Gibson, University of Warwick