Dr. Kim’s lab is interested in understanding the molecular cross-talk that occurs between tumor and stromal cells within the tumor immune-microenvironment, while also developing multiple patented therapeutic strategies to inhibit tumorigenesis. The lab's current research primarily focuses on finding new ways to promote immune recognition of tumor cells by targeting phagocytosis processes to boost antitumor immune response in solid tumors. Our group also pursues the identification of predictive and prognostic biomarkers for personalized medicine in the context of brain tumors.
Therapeutic Modulation of the Phagocytosis Axis as a Novel Glioblastoma Immunotherapy
Microfluidics Array Based Sorting, Isolation, and RNA Analysis in Single Extracellular Vesicles
Clinical Development of CAR T Cell Therapy Targeting CD70 in Primary GBM
A Fusion Protein Bispecific Phagocyte Engager (BiPE) for Targeted Breast Cancer Immunotherapy
S100A4 mediated immune suppression in GBM
Nanomaterials and Immunotherapy:
The Kim lab’s research has greatly impacted our understanding of how nanomaterials interact with biological systems and inspired new approaches to engineering nanodevices that can regulate immune functions to fight cancer. Synthetic nanomaterials can actively participate in regulating the functions of biological systems, and these findings were established in a landmark study published in Nature Nanotechnology.
With a primary focus on developing therapeutic strategies to harness the innate immune system, our findings have led to the discovery of new strategies to enhance tumor cell phagocytosis by developing nanomaterials that can engage both cancer cells and immune cells (Nature Nanotechnology, 2017). In addition, nanotechnology-based therapies or therapeutic combinations that can enhance antitumor responses can be designed based on our published research related to immune suppressive mechanisms utilized by tumors (Nature Nanotechnology, 2021). Research that led to the development of bispecific engager systems that can facilitate the phagocytosis of tumor cells by macrophages has opened new opportunities to develop effective macrophage-targeted therapies for cancer treatment (Nature Nanotechnology 2017 and Nature Nanotechnology 2022).
Our research that characterizes tumor cell evasion of phagocytosis has allowed for the identification of multiple phagocytosis checkpoints in different cancers, promoting the development of new and innovative therapies that target these pathways (Nature Communications 2020, Nature Reviews Cancer 2019).
Extracellular Vesicles to Deliver Gene Therapy:
Our recent interest in designing bioinspired nanostructures to tune immune and antitumor responses also represents a breakthrough towards developing completely new strategies for cancer treatment. Our work on using extracellular vesicles to induce transcriptomic control to restore suppressor gene functions in tumors has opened a new avenue of mRNA delivery and pioneered the use of exosomes for mRNA-based therapeutics (Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2020). Our subsequent work demonstrated that intradermal application of exosomes containing mRNA for COL1A1 induced the formation of collagen protein grafts and reduced wrinkle formation in mice that with photo-aged skin that lacked collagen protein (Nature Biomed Engineering 2023). These extracellular vesicles are likely to have applications in the treatment of brain tumors since they can be used to deliver other therapeutic cargos.