Affinity-tuning leukocyte integrin for development of safe therapeutics

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Much attention has been given to the molecular and cellular pathways linking inflammation with cancer and the local tumor environment to identify new target molecules that could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment. Among the many molecular players involved in the complex response, central to the induction of inflammation is intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, which is of particular interest for its highly sensitive and localized expression in response to inflammatory signals. ICAM-1, which has been implicated to play a critical role in tumor progression in various types of cancer, has also been linked to cancer metastases, where ICAM-1 facilitates the spread of metastatic cancer cells to secondary sites. This unique expression profile of ICAM-1 throughout solid tumor microenvironment makes ICAM-1 an intriguing molecular target, which holds great potential as an important diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Herein, we have engineered the ligand binding domain, or the inserted (I) domain of a leukocyte integrin, to exhibit a wide range of monovalent affinities to the natural ligand, ICAM-1. Using the resulting I domain variants, we have created drug and gene delivery nanoparticles, as well as targeted immunotherapeutics that have the ability to bind and migrate to inflammatory sites prevalent in tumors and the associated microenvironment. Through the delivery of diagnostic agents, chemotherapeutics, and immunotherapeutics, the following chapters demonstrate that the affinity enhancements achieved by directed evolution bring the affinity of I domains into the range optimal for numerous applications.
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integrin; Immunology; Biomedical engineering; nanoparticle; Nanotechnology; CAR-T; ICAM-1; cancer
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Union Local
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Jin, Moonsoo
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Zarnegar, Rasa
King, Michael R.
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Biomedical Engineering
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Ph. D., Biomedical Engineering
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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