Characterizing the mechanism of T cell exhaustion in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

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CAR T cell immunotherapy treats leukemia by expanding the patient's own T cells in large quantities ex vivo before modifying their T cell receptors to better target the cancer. However, patients with advanced disease have poor starting T cell quantity and quality, often resulting in the patients to be ineligible for the life changing treatment. We will study the exhaustion phenotype in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) patient T cells, to better understand why CLL T cells don’t expand as well as healthy cells and also to characterize T cell exhaustion. We will use injection molded microwells specially designed to allow imaging of small numbers of cells to conserve the scarce patient samples while testing multiple conditions at once.

Lab: Microscale Biocomplexity Laboratory, Lance Kam

Direct Supervisor: Joanne Lee

Position Dates: 5/20/2019 - 8/9/2019

Hours per Week: 40

Paid Position: Yes

Credit: No

Qualifications: Biology, laboratory safety and techniques

Eligibility: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior (SEAS only)

Lance Kam, lance.kam@columbia.edu