University of Cambridge > > Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Departmental Seminars > Bigger Picture Talks at CEB with Constantin Coussios: Engineering Tomorrow's Cancer Therapies

Bigger Picture Talks at CEB with Constantin Coussios: Engineering Tomorrow's Cancer Therapies

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Our departmental seminar series, Bigger Picture Talks, runs throughout the academic year, inviting thought-leaders from across the world driving significant advances in our impact areas of energy, health and sustainability to share and discuss their work with us.

Abstract: Tumour physiology presents a formidable barrier to the delivery of current and emerging anticancer therapeutics, including antibodies, oncolytic viruses, antibody-drug conjugates and mNRA. Furthermore, potent next-generation immunotherapies can be transformative, but for reasons that remain poorly understood are only highly effective in less than a fifth of cancer patients.

Thermal and mechanical effects associated with extracorporeal stimuli, such as ultrasound, have a major role to play in enabling therapeutics to overcome the elevated intratumoural pressure, sparse vascularity and dense extracellular matrix encountered in the majority of solid tumours, in order to achieve better intratumoural distribution and therapeutic efficacy. In recent pre-clinical studies, these effects have also been shown to be able to mediate significantly enhanced innate and adaptive immune responses.

An overview of the stimulus-responsive nanotechnologies that have been recently tested clinically or are currently at an advanced stage of pre-clinical development will be provided. These include thermosensitive liposomes, which recently completed a first-in-man trial of remotely activated oncological drug delivery (TarDox, Lancet Oncology 2018); gas-stabilizing solid polymeric particles, currently ongoing a first-in-human trial (CEeDD); and next generation protein-based particles, which are being specifically engineered to awaken the immune system.

Challenges in the pre-clinical development, scale-up and pre-clinical testing of these potentially transformative stimulus-responsive technologies will be discussed, alongside a novel method of accelerating their clinical translation using isolated normothermically perfused human organs to predict their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics ahead of human trials.

Bio: Professor Constantin Coussios (MEng, PhD Cantab.) is the Director of the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering and was elected to the first statutory chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford in 2011. He was the recipient of the 2017 Silver Medal of the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering for his contributions to the translation of novel medical technologies into clinical practice. In 2008, he co-founded OrganOx Ltd., which developed the world’s first normothermic liver perfusion device for improved organ preservation prior to transplantation (Nature 2018). In 2014, he was the lead academic founder of OxSonics Ltd., which exploits nanobubbles and ultrasound to enhance drug delivery to tumours (Lancet Oncology 2018). In 2016, he co-founded OrthoSon Ltd., which is developing a new minimally invasive technique for repair and replacement of the intervertebral disc. In 2019, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and in 2022 was awarded an OBE for services to Biomedical Engineering.

This talk is part of the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Departmental Seminars series.

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