ART FOR SCIENCE'S SAKE
SynNotch T Cell
Date: March 13, 2017
Materials: Acrylic and Ink on Wood
Size: 6” x 12”
Immunotherapies are promising treatments for diseases such as cancer through the use of substances that stimulate an immune response. New research being conducted in the field of synthetic biology is looking at engineering T cells for customized therapeutic responses. How? By creating Synthetic Notch (synNotch) T Cells.
SynNotch receptors consist of three main parts:
1)the core regulatory domain of the cell-cell signaling receptor Notch
2)a genetically engineered extracellular domain that recognizes specific markers of diseased or mutated cells (as known as antigens)
3)a synthetic intracellular domain that activates a specific transcriptional program
When the synNotch receptor recognizes a disease-related antigen, the intracellular domain is cleaved and enters the nucleus. There it activates a custom transcriptional response, such as the production of cytokines, cytotoxic agents, or therapeutic antibodies. SynNotch T cells have been shown to successfully recognize and target cancer cells, but their potential extends far beyond cancer and can be applicable to a large number of diseases. SynNotch therapies are more diverse, customizable, and precise than existing immunotherapies, and thus have huge potential clinical applications and benefits.
This painting shows a SynNotch receptor on a T cell recognizing a cancer antigen, and subsequently releasing its intracellular domain to the nucleus to generate a transcriptional response so the cell produces antibodies to fight the cancer.