Kevin Kramer

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Development of antibody therapeutics for cancer immunology

Project Abstract

Recent advances in computational and bioengineering sciences have allowed us to better understand the interactions between antibodies and antigen, to design immunogens capable of eliciting target antibody specificities, and to engineer and optimize antibodies as clinical products. The field of antibody engineering is of particular interest. Antibodies are a $75+ billion industry, projected to increase to nearly $125 billion/year over the next several years. Antibodies have proven to be effective as preventive or therapeutic measures against viruses, cancers, autoimmune disorders, and other diseases, and even more targets are being studied in clinical trials. Specifically in cancer therapy, antibodies are associated with several different modes of action, such as direct tumor targeting or immunomodulation by checkpoint inhibition, with a number of antibodies against various types of cancers already FDA-approved or in various stages of clinical trials. The goal of the proposed project is to apply a variety of techniques from computational protein design, immunology, and structural biology, in order to develop novel antibody therapeutics for cancer immunology. Specifically, we will apply structure-based design techniques to develop improved antibody therapeutics against various targets – for example, Bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech), a humanized monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the activity of human vascular endothelial growth factor. Overall, this project will provide a methodology for generating novel and improved cancer antibody therapeutics.

Mentors
Primary: Ivelin Georgiev
Secondary: Melanie Ohi
Type of Trainee
Graduate student