Aurore Saudemont, MSc, PhD, Senior Research Scientist
Email Aurore Saudemont
The main interest of the Immunotherapy Group is translational research to promote the scale up of cellular products to complement the development of the Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank.
The general aim of our research is to improve the outcome of haematopoietic stem transplantation (HSCT) by focusing on improving stem cell engraftment and immune reconstitution and targeting the main issues encountered after HSCT: post-transplant viral infections, Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) and separation of GvHD from the beneficial effect of the Graft versus Leukaemia (GvL). The Immunotherapy group combines expertise in stem cell biology and cellular immunology and works in close relationship with the cord blood programme. Its research strategy is to characterize cord blood immune cells by comparing their therapeutic abilities with their adult counterparts in order to understand their unique properties. ITG scientists work on two physical sites: London (cell oriented) and Nottingham (product oriented). These sites are developing projects in both clinical and basic research.
In order to maximise the potential of the research in this field, five working areas have been defined:
- Immunoregulation specifically interaction between accessory cells and stem cells to facilitate engraftment, regeneration and tolerance
- Cell therapy strategies to improve immunoreconstitution after transplantation
- Modulation of the immune response after transplantation (Immunomodulation)
- 'CordPharm’ focused in the development of new cord blood by-products
- Translational models for regenerative medicine exploiting the potential of ‘off the shelf’ cord blood stem cells and immune cells
The “CORDBANK” project: Anthony Nolan is in the process of setting up the UK’s first charitable cord blood bank to increase the access to haematopoietic stem cell transplantation for many patients in need. A state-of-the art programme aiming to collect high quality and diverse cord blood units using ethically approved and safe collection strategies are being validated. Anthony Nolan is establishing new procedures and implementing new quality control techniques to minimise the risk for donor and patients from this new medical application.
The “CORDPHARM” project: Using the ethically donated cord blood units, not currently suitable for clinical transplantation, for translational research. The main goal is to analyse the different cellular subsets in whole cord blood to be used as allogeneic sources for universal cell therapy approaches, both as an immune or stem cell source. Subsequently, one major area of interest is evolving the concept of using pooled natural produced stem and immunological cells for clinical protocols, without the need for ex vivo procedures.
Target products are:
- CD133 cells single or pooled
- CD25 cells single or pooled
- CD3 CD25- naïve effector T cells
- CD3- as NK-precursor source
The main work at the core facility at Nottingham Trent University is to generate these cell sets, and produce them under GMP rules before freezing.