Dr. Kaufman is a of Professor of Medicine and Director of Cell Therapy Program at UCSD. Research in my lab utilizes human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluirpotent stem cells (iPScs) to understand the earliest stages of blood development. Our studies have defined methods to derive multiple types of mature blood cells from hESCs and iPSCs. In vitro and in vivo models elucidate both extracellular protein interactions and intracellular genetic regulation that impact these developmental pathways. One goal of these studies is to determine the in vivo engraftment potential of the hESC/iPSC-derived hematopoietic stem cells. We have also advanced studies on natural killer (NK) cells derived from hESC/iPSCs. We find these hESC/iPSC-derived NK cells have more potent activity against diverse tumor cells compared to NK cells from other sources. We are now engineering hESC/iPSC-derived NK cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and other modifications to enhance the activity of these cells to kill more refractory malignancies with the goal to translate novel hESC/iPSC-derived NK cells to the clinic. We are also engaged in developmental and functional analyses of other mesoderm lineage cells derived from hESCs and iPSCs. This work includes analysis of endothelial and smooth muscle cells that can be utilized for cardio-vascular repair, and osteogeneic cells that can promote bone development.
Dan S. Kaufman, MD, PhD