NIH https://www.nih.gov awarded a $6.7 million five year grant to Johns Hopkins Medicine https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org to bring together immunologists, oncologists, and biomedical engineers to build new tools to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Engineers have been collaborating with scientists to develop new medical devices and tools, but recent advances in technology have helped scientists expand engineering concepts into fields once the sole domain of specialists.
According to Johns Hopkins immunologist and lead investigator, Jonathan Schneck, M.D. PhD, and Founder of Neximmune, “Engineering and immunology researchers have worked together on various projects in an ad hoc way. The grant funding will establish the “Johns Hopkins Translational Immuno-Engineering (JH-TIE) Biotechnology Research Center” which will aim to formalize the blend of engineering and immunology.”
The scientists in the Center will work on creating artificial immune cells to educate the immune system on how and where to find cancer cells, setting the stage for an immune system attack on malignant cells.
Other areas of research include using nano materials to program immune cells to fight disease, and then analyze how immune cells absorb or metabolize, nutrients that can affect their ability to fight disease.
Leaders of the new center also plan to train other scientists in the immune-engineering field and educate the next generation of immune-engineers through workshops, online materials, and scientific meetings.
The JH-TIE Center is planning collaborative projects with Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Kimmel Cancer Center, along with scientists at Cornell University, McMaster University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYU, University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin, the Salk Institute, Yonsei University, AsclepiX Therapeutics, and Neximmune.
Go to http://jhtie.jhmi.edu/training.cfm for more information on the new center.