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YingXiao Peter Wang, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2018
For development and application of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) biosensors to visualize and elucidate the molecular mechanisms in mechanobiology.

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

Via UC San Diego | January 15, 2018

A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

There is a critical need to non-invasively and remotely manipulate cells at a distance, particularly for translational applications in animals and humans, researchers said.

The team developed an innovative approach to use mechanogenetics—a field of science that focuses on how physical forces and changes in the mechanical properties of cells and tissues influence gene expression—for the remote control of gene and cell activations. Researchers used ultrasound to mechanically perturb T cells, and then converted the mechanical signals into genetic control of cells… Continue reading.

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Smart molecules trigger white blood cells to become better cancer-eating machines

Via UC San Diego | September 28, 2017

San Diego, Calif., Sept. 28, 2017 — A team of researchers has engineered smart protein molecules that can reprogram white blood cells to ignore a self-defense signaling mechanism that cancer cells use to survive and spread in the body. Researchers say the advance could lead to a new method of re-engineering immune cells to fight cancer and infectious diseases. The team successfully tested this method in a live cell culture system.

The work was led by bioengineering professors Peter Yingxiao Wang and Shu Chien with collaborating professors Victor Nizet and Xiangdong Xu, all at the University of California San Diego, along with researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The team published their work this month in Nature Communications.

The smart proteins, called “iSNAPS” (integrated sensing and activating proteins), are designed to detect precise molecular signals in live cells and in response, act upon those signals to enable the cells to fight disease or perform other beneficial functions. This study is the first to demonstrate how both sensing and activating capabilities can be combined into a single molecule, Wang said.

The researchers inserted their iSNAPS into a type of white blood cells called macrophages and demonstrated that they dramatically enhanced the macrophages’ ability to engulf and destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells… Continue reading.

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