Laboratory projects focused on a variety of aspects to improve curative therapies for sickle cell disease, such as:
Evaluating the role of host natural killer (NK) cells in graft rejection following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In this project, biospecimens are collected from ongoing clinical trials of HLA-matched and mismatched allogeneic transplant for sickle cell disease.
Defining the extent of immune deficiency following transplantation that leads to viral infection and determining if adoptive transfer of virus-specific T cells can restore immunity rapidly. This project is also evaluating how virus-specific T cells developed from cord blood can be used to restore immunity following cord blood transplantation.
Hematopoietic stem cell source
Evaluating umbilical cord blood as a source of cells for gene modification to treat sickle cell disease.
Curative therapy efficacy
Collaborative effort with a bioengineering expert, Nitin Agrawal, Ph.D., to develop a uniform, feasible method to reproducibly assess if a therapy can result in red blood cells that do not sickle.