Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell cancer that can result in elevated calcium levels, renal failure, anemia, and bone lesions. High relapse rates and poor survival for MM present a need for novel therapies to combat the disease. MM cells uniquely express a transcription factor called Sex determining region Y-box 2 (Sox-2) that is important for clonal expansion. Existing research has shown that Sox-2 immunity correlates with better patient prognosis, yet it remains unknown what regions of the Sox-2 protein are immunogenic. This study identifies Sox-2 peptides that generate Sox-2 specific T Cell immunity in order to specifically target and eradicate MM cells. MM cell lines were engineered to test Sox-2 specific T Cells’ ability to recognize processed and presented endogenous Sox-2 peptide and kill tumor cells.
During this project I gained a deeper understanding of how immunotherapy can provide a more effective way to treat cancer. I also learned new lab techniques such as performing an ELISpot Assay, knocking out genes using CRISPR, and using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to measure RNA expression. This experience allowed me to build problem solving and technical skills as I thought critically about each step of the project. I am very grateful to have gotten to work on this project this summer with the incredible mentors in my lab. I look forward to continuing my work in the Linette-Carreno lab in the coming year.