San Diego, CA


Day One
Wednesday March 28th, 2018

Day Two
Thursday March 29th, 2018

Chair’s Opening Remarks

Identify the Unique Properties of NK Cells to Advance Clinical Trials

How NK cells remember their education – Building functional potential through inhibition


  • Understand the basic principle behind the functional regulation of NK cells.
  • Appreciate the phenotypic and functional diversity within the NK cell repertoire
  • Discuss the relevance of NK cell education and repertoire diversification on the NK cell trial design

Therapeutic Use of Super-Charged NK Cells Targeting CSCs/Undifferentiated Pancreatic/Oral Tumors in Humanized BLT Mice, and Their Use in Clinical Trials

  • Anahid Jewett Professor & Director of Tumor Immunology Laboratory, UCLA School of Dentistry and Medicine


  • NK cells as effectors of selection and differentiation of Cancer Stem Cells/undifferentiated tumors in pancreatic, melanoma, glioblastoma, lung, breast and oral tumors
  • Induction of split anergy in NK cells as a mechanism for differentiation of tumor cells
  • Membrane bound and secreted form of IFN-g and TNF-a from NK cells limit tumor growth through differentiation of the tumors
  • NK inactivation occurs at the pre-neoplastic stage of tumorigenesis; role of genetic and environmental factors
  • Super-charging NK cells with osteoclasts and sAJ2 significantly expands NK cell numbers and function and provides an effective platform for use in clinical trials of cancer patients

Morning Refreshments and Speed Networking

Targeting NK Cell-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptors to Increase NK Cell Specificity

Off-the-shelf CAR-engineered cord blood-derived NK cells for the treatment of cancer- the first-in-human trial

  • Katy Rezvani Chief, Section of Cellular Therapy at Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, MD Anderson Cancer Center


  • Novel strategies to expand off-the-shelf cord blood derived NK cells based on their co-culture with genetically-modified feeder cells that express membrane-bound cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules.
  • Methods to ensure reliable expansion and activation of human cord blood NK cells
  • To redirect NK cell specificity and enhance their in vivo persistence
  • Data from the Phase 1/11 clinical study testing the safety and efficacy of escalating doses of off-the-shelf iC9/CAR. 19/IL-15 CB-NK cells in patients with relapsed or refractory B-lymphoid malignancies.

Development of novel NK cell-specific chimeric antigen receptors to improve anti-tumor activity.

  • Dan Kaufman Professor of Medicine & Director of Cell Therapy, University of California


  • Use of human pluripotent stem cells to produce NK cells engineered with CARs
  • Expression of CARs with novel intracellular signaling domains to improve NK-CAR-mediated activity
  • Signaling pathways activated by novel NK-CARs
  • Testing novel iPSC-derived CAR-expressing NK cells using in vivo xenograft models of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors

Panel Discussion: Evaluate The Challenges Limiting NK Cell Efficacy In Clinical Trials


  • Identify the challenges facing the expansion of off-the-shelf and genetically modified NK cells to achieve clinically meaningful numbers for large scale treatments
  • Strategies to increase the persistence of propagating cells and to understand it’s importance
  • Evaluate how third-party NK cells can be adapted to maintain responses in an allogeneic setting
  • Identify the optimal clinical trial design to increase efficacy in clinical testing


Lunch & Networking

Identify how the Tumor Microenvironment Evades NK Cell Therapy to Improve Future Efficacy

The Role of NK Cells Targeting Suppressive Components of the Tumor Immune Microenvironment in the Treatment of Refractory Solid Tumors

  • Robin Parihar Assistant Professor, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine


  • Understand the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in patients who fail CAR-T cell therapy
  • Review efforts to arm NK cells to target myeloid-derived suppressor cells
  • Present new models for understanding mechanisms that limit immune therapies in solid tumors
  • Discuss clinical applications of combination cell therapeutics involving NK cells

Strategies to Optimally Exploit the Anti-Tumor Potential of Alloreactive NK Cells in a Suppressive Tumor Microenvironment

  • Lotte Wieten Assistant Professor, Dept of Transplantation Immunology, Maastricht University Medical Center


  • Understand the influence of the tumor microenvironment on alloreactive NK cells
  • In depth analysis of the functional relevance of HLA and inhibitory receptors for NK cell alloreactivity
  • Development of clinically applicable combinational strategies to exploit alloreactive NK cells in haematological and solid tumors

GAIA-102: A Novel Natural Killer Cell Phenotype That Can Eliminate the Solid Tumors


  •  GAIA-102 is a novel phenotype of expanded NK cells
  • GAIA-102 shows high killing activity against various malignant cells, including Raji cells that are resistant to various NK cells
  • GAIA-102 can eliminate 3D spheroid of malignancies in vitro and human established tumors in mouse in vivo

Afternoon Refreshments

Discussion Session to Support the Rate of Discovery and Clinical Development in NK Cell Immunotherapies

Round Table Discussions


  • Identify the merits of different donor resources comparing scalability potential to allow more cost effective trial planning
  • Discuss feasible solutions to overcome the limitations of donors and the regulatory constraints on cell line safety
  • Could NK cells be utilized as a strategy to cure mismatch in off-the-shelf therapies?

Saul Kivimae, Team Lead, In Vivo Pharmacology Function for Preclinical Drug Development and Target Validation,
Nektar Therapeutics


  • Strategies to allow NK cells to cross barriers into solid tumors and overcome strong immunosuppressive environments
  • Do immune-regulatory cells impact NK and T cells in the same way?
  • Discuss the potential of downregulating TGF-beta to allow for greater NK activity
  • Exploring the third-party allogeneic NK cell therapies and the approaches of avoiding an immunogenic response in the recipient that curtails persistence

 Lotte Wieten, Assistant Professor, Dept of  Transplantation Immunology, Maastricht University Medical Center



  • Strategies to overcome gene inherent viral resistance via optimization of viral vectors and RNA delivery in electroporation systems
  • Identifying immunomodulatory strategies which should compliment NK cell therapy to increase engraftment time
  • Comparing the efficiency of viral and non viral transduction methods for gene modification
  • Explore the use of genetic editing to improve the therapeutic potential of autologous and off-the-shelf NK cells

Dan Kaufman, Professor of Medicine & Director of Cell Therapy, University of California

Therapeutic Strategies to Increase Functionality of NK Cells

NK Fc Bridged Cellular Cytotoxicity – Applications in Cancer


  • Understand the novel mechanism of Fc bridged cellular cytotoxicity (Fcbcc)
  • Understand Fcbcc in recognition of pathogens
  • Understand Fcbcc in recognition of cancer
  • Clinical applications of Fcbcc

Novel Strategies to Activate NK Cells for Cancer Therapy


  • IL-15 biology and clinical activity
  • Adaptive NK cells as cancer therapy
  • Targeting NK cells with Trispecific Killer engagers

Chair’s Closing Remarks

End of Day 1