Eiji Yuba

Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka Prefecture UniversityAssociate Professor*Profile is at the time of the award.

2019Inamori Research GrantsScience & Engineering

Research topics
Development of immune cell-specific antigen carriers using liposome modified with pH-responsive curdlan derivatives having mannose residues
Cancer immunotherapy has come under the spotlight recently. For a successful execution of said therapy, it is crucial to induce immune cells (killer T cells) that recognize and attack cancerous cells exclusively. This process requires an antigen carrier, which frequently carries cancer markers (antigens) to dendritic cells. Such cells in turn activate an immune reaction, and then antigens are released inside of cells. Our research team has developed functional polymers that undergo membrane fusion with vesicles in response to mildly acidic pH environments inside of vesicles, which are formed when a cell takes in foreign substances. We then immobilized the functional polymers into lipid nanocapsules (liposomes) to develop functional carriers that release encapsulated substances in a cell. For the purposes of this research, we introduced mannose residues to these functional polymers to design a novel polysaccharide derivative that possesses both pH responsiveness and specificity to dendritic cells. Our goal is to develop an immune induction system capable of inducing cancer-specific immune cells with greater efficiency by modifying antigen-encapsulated liposomes with this polysaccharide derivative.

Message from recipient

I believe that the successful development of immune checkpoint inhibitors has increased general recognition of cancer immunotherapy. It has been reported, however, that immune checkpoint inhibitors do not work on a certain portion of patients, and one of the reasons for this is the inability to induce cancer-specific killer T cells. Now that we have the research grant, we will pursue basic research to save cancer patients who cannot benefit from current immunotherapy.

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