New cancer treatment uses enzymes to boost immune system and fight back

In our most recent paper, we show that administration of a pharmacologically optimized enzyme (PEGylated kynureninase; hereafter referred to as PEG-KYNase) that degrades Kyn into immunologically inert, nontoxic and readily cleared metabolites inhibits tumor growth. Enzyme treatment was associated with a marked increase in the tumor infiltration and proliferation of polyfunctional CD8+ lymphocytes. We show that PEG-KYNase administration had substantial therapeutic effects when combined with approved checkpoint inhibitors or with a cancer vaccine for the treatment of large B16-F10 melanoma, 4T1 breast carcinoma or CT26 colon carcinoma tumors. PEG-KYNase mediated prolonged depletion of Kyn in the TME and reversed the modulatory effects of IDO1/TDO upregulation in the TME.

GRA George Delidakis wins Poster Prize at EMBO Antibodies Conference

GRA George Delidakis recently attended the EMBO Antibody and Complement: Effector functions, Therapies and Technologies Conference in Girona, Spain and was awarded one of two Poster Awards.

The Conference was attended by an international group of faculty, students, and scientists from the biotech industry who work on understanding the diverse and complex roles of antibodies in the context of the broader immune system. In his poster, he presented our lab’s work on generating a panel of engineered antibodies which -unlike wildtype antibody- display unique specificity to each member of the Fc gamma receptor family, a family of receptors that are critical in linking the innate and adaptive branches of immunity. For his presentation, he was awarded one of the two Poster Awards, along with a cash prize.

The research was sponsored by the Clayton Foundation for Research.

Congratulations George!

Dr. Erik Johnson accepts Data Scientist position at Epic Systems

Congratulations to Dr. Erik Johnson on his Data Scientist position at Epic Systems!



Dr. Joseph Dekker accepts Sr. Scientist position at Molecular Templates

Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Dekker who has accepted a position as Sr. Scientist in Immunology at Molecular Templates in Austin, TX.

Alumnus Dr. Eva-Maria Strauch joins the Faculty at the University of Georgia

Congratulations to Dr. Eva-Maria Strauch who has joined the faculty of the University of Georgia, Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences!

Alumnus Dr. Jason Cantor Joins Morgridge Institute, UW-Madison

Jason Cantor joins Morgridge Institute, UW-Madison

Congratulations Dr. Cantor on your new position at the Morgridge Institute!

Undergraduate Researcher Justin Mirazee awarded ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship and URF Fellowship

Justin Mirazee, Undergraduate Researcher, was awarded the ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship to assist research in Dr. Sai Reddy’s lab at ETH-Zürich for Summer 2018. Justin will be learning how to use CRISPR-Cas9 to modify antibody expression in murine hybridoma cell lines and engineer other complex proteins such as chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for immunotherapy.

In addition, Justin was awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) from UT Austin to support the T-cell Fc gamma receptor project with Wissam Charab.

Congratulations, Justin!

Dr. Everett Stone Named Emerging Inventor of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Everett Stone, Emerging Inventor of the Year!

On November 2, 2017, the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization hosted the 7th Annual Inventor Award Ceremony & Reception. The prestigious Inventor of the Year Award, honors a researcher whose discoveries have made a significant impact, and the Emerging Inventor of the Year Award, acknowledges a researcher who has made substantial contributions early in their career.


Undergraduate Researcher Justin Mirazee wins a Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium Best Presentation Award!

Congratulations to Undergraduate Researcher Justin Mirazee who recently won the Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium Award for Best Presentation in his Session. Justin is working with Graduate Researcher Wissam Charab and Undergraduate Researcher Matthew Rosenbeger.

The Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium is a chance for students to present a highlight reel of their research at UT to underscore the importance of academic involvement for undergraduates.

Dr. Georgiou Delivers Prestigious Global Distinguished Lecture at KAIST

Dr. Georgiou was selected to deliver the Prestigious 2017 Global Distinguished Lecture in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST.

His lecture Discovery, Preclinical and Clinical Development of Therapeutic Treatment for Cancer Therapy focused on the pioneering methods he has developed to engineer therapeutic enzymes capable of degrading specific amino acids related to disease pathology, studies that have led to one protein therapeutic that is currently being evaluated in 3 Phase I clinical trials and two preclinical stage therapeutics that will enter human trials in 2018. In addition, he discussed his development of improved therapeutic antibodies that have been engineered for enhanced killing of target pathogenic cells and other properties that are critical for the pharmacology of antibody drugs.

His lecture What’s in your Blood? Molecular Analysis of the Serum Antibody Repertoire for Developing Better Vaccines and Therapeutics discussed the diverse ensemble of antibody proteins (immunoglobulins) that circulate in all physiological fluids and play a central role in protection against disease. His lab has developed an integrated technology workflow that combines high mass accuracy LC-MS/MS proteomics, with microfluidics and bioinformatics tools for the molecular-level deconvolution of the identities, relative amounts and functions of antibodies in human blood and also for the delineation of the relationships between antibody production and the relevant B cell immunological mechanisms.

About “The KAIST CBE Global Distinguished Lectureship”
The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST proudly presents the 7th KAIST CBE Global Distinguished Lectureship series. The lectureship is an annual event in which an internationally leading researcher in chemical and biomolecular engineering at a foreign institution is selected and invited to give a series of lectures. The lectures are open to students and faculty as well as alumni and friends. The visiting lecturer, in addition to giving the seminars on recent trends and advances in his / her field is asked to participate in informal discussions with KAIST faculty and students.

Previous lecturers include Bill Koros (GT), Manfred Morari (ETH), Gregory Stephanopoulos (MIT), Rakesh Agrawal (Purdue), and Ignacio Grossmann (CMU).

While visiting Korea, Dr. Georgiou was delighted to reconnect with several Georgiou Lab Alumni.

Left to Right: Assoc. Prof. Ki Jun Jeong (KAIST), Assoc. Prof. Tae Hyeon Yoo (Ajou Univ.), Dr. George Georgiou, Asst. Prof. Xin Ge (UC Riverside), Assoc. Prof. Sang Taek Jung (Kookmin Univ.), Dr. Tae Hyun Kang (Sr. Researcher, CJ HealthCare), Dr. Daechan Park (Sr. Research Scientist, KIST).