Biomaterials as Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines

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Sunday, April 19, 2015 - 4:30pm


Kewaunee Poster Session
3:30 pm | Fitzpatrick Center Pre-Function Area

Kewaunee Lecture
4:30 pm | Schiciano Auditorium

Poster Awards and Reception
Immediately following the lecture | Fitzpatrick Pre-Function Area


Therapeutic cancer vaccines typically depend on extensive manipulation of cells in the laboratory, but subsequent cell infusion typically leads to large-scale cell death and limited efficacy. We are instead developing biomaterials that provide controlled delivery of immunomodulatory factors, in certain ways mimicking aspects of microbial infection, to target immune cells in the body and bypass the need to manipulate cells in the laboratory. These material strategies allow control over immune cell trafficking and activation, promote potent responses to cancer antigens, and cause tumor regression in preclinical models.


Dr. David Mooney is the Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute. His laboratory designs biomaterials to make cell and protein therapies effective and practical approaches to treat disease.  His team created the first biomaterial-based, therapeutic cancer vaccine, currently in a clinical trial for melanoma. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and appears on Thomson Reuters’ 2014 list of most Highly Cited Researchers.  He has won numerous awards, including the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard College.  His inventions have been licensed by twelve companies, leading to commercialized products, and he is active on industrial scientific advisory boards.