Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco
Audrey V. Parent, PhD
What is your presentation about?
I will present our progress generating hypoimmunogenic stem cell-derived pancreatic beta cells for the purpose of cell therapy and disease modeling. Our strategy focuses on selectively deleting all classical human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) but the common allele HLA-A2 to reduce the immunogenicity of beta cells while retaining immune surveillance through the retained HLA allele.
What makes this topic important in 2022?
Successful clinical translation of stem cell therapies requires overcoming the major roadblock of immune rejection due to alloimmune responses and islet-specific autoimmune responses against transplanted beta cells. Recent advances in genetic engineering methods have the potential to profoundly impact future cell therapy efforts since they enable the creation of immune evasive stem cell grafts, potentially allowing their survival in the absence of long-term immunosuppression.
How did you become involved with this area of diabetes research or care?
I have been working on the development of stem cell therapies for more than a decade and have been lucky enough to witness the extraordinary progress made in the field of stem cell differentiation into beta cells in the recent years. As we now move closer to clinical translation, my interest is shifting to immune protection of these stem cell-derived beta cells as it remains a major barrier to widespread adoption of cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes.
What are you most looking forward to at the 82nd Scientific Sessions?
Connecting with trainees and colleagues as well as learning about the latest discoveries in the field.