8:30 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

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

8:45 am
Identifying the Value of NK Cells

9:00 am The Innate Killing Ability of Natural Killer Cells


  • Emphasizing the need for combinational approaches to combat multiple tumor types
  • Addressing the importance of using multiple modes of killing and training to induce an immunogenic response

9:30 am Engineering Models for Potency and Persistence

  • James Trager Senior Vice President of Research and Development , Nkarta Therapeutics


  • Scalable expansion and transduction of NK cells from a variety of sources to allow maximum flexibility in development of either allogeneic or autologous NK cell products
  • Enhancing targeting of NKG2D ligands through the use of conventional chimeras and novel cell engineering approaches
  • Maximizing NK potency through combination therapy

10:00 am The Clinical Significance of NK Cell Dysfunction and the Use of Non- Genetically Modified Expanded Autologous Natural Killer Cells with Enhanced Cytotoxicity in the Treatment of Human Disease


  • Defining the significant role that Natural Killer Cell dysfunction has in overall
    human health
  • Describing an innovative NK cell expansion and activation process which results in
    an exponential increase in CD56+ cells and their cytotoxicity
  • Exploring the potential uses of these Super NK cells in the treatment of several
    diseases with an emphasis on preclinical data, ongoing, and proposed clinical

10:30 am
Morning Refreshments & Speed Networking

11:30 am NK Cell Memory to Target Advanced Malignancies

  • Rizwan Romee Director of Haploidentical Donor Transplant Program , Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


  • Update current knowledge about NK cell memory
  • Key features o f the cytokine induced NK cell memory
  • Pre-clinical and early clinical experience with using memory-like NK cells
  • Efforts to use memory-like NK cells in combination with novel agents

12:00 pm Therapeutic Strategies Based on Innate Immunity and Affimed’s ROCK® platform


  • Outlining Affimed’s versatile modular antibody platform, ROCK® (Redirected Optimized Cell Killing), which enables development of high affinity engagers of innate immune effector cells (NK cells and macrophages), targeting specific receptors on cancer cell
  • Effector cell engagement using ROCK®-based bispecific antibodies has shown promising clinical efficacy and safety, both as single agents and in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab
  • ROCK® antibodies with other (immuno-oncology) agents have shown encouraging preclinical results in additional rational combinations with cytokines (IL-2 and IL-15) or with adoptive NK cell transfer

12:30 pm NK Cell Homeostasis and Plasticity Studied at the Single Cell Level


  • The basic principle behind the functional regulation of NK cells
  • Phenotypic and functional diversity within the NK cell repertoire
  • Impact of NK cell education and repertoire diversification on rational NK cell trial

1:00 pm
Lunch & Networking

1:45 pm
NK Cell Therapeutic Strategies

2:00 pm Using PM21-NK cells as an Anti-Cancer Therapeutic

  • Alicja Copik Research Assistant Professor, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences


  • Use of NK cells for induction of PD-L1 and priming for PD-L1 checkpoint blockade
  • Effect of NK cells response on tumor microenvironment
  • Use of PM-21-NK cells/anti-PD-L1 checkpoint combinations to improve NK cell function and overall efficacy

2:30 pm Translation of Pluripotent Cell-Derived Engineered NK Cells as a Cornerstone Approach for Off-The-Shelf Cancer Immunotherapy


  • Natural killer (NK) cells represent a lineage of immune cells capable of direct cytotoxicity against tumor cells and are a critical source of key inflammatory cytokines
  • Pluripotent stem cell technology represents a unique and powerful approach to make cell-based immunotherapies available to a wide range of patients through the generation of a consistent and renewable “off-the-shelf” source of therapeutic cells
  • Analogous to biopharmaceutical drug product development, the derived master pluripotent cell line is banked, characterized and repeatedly applied to our stage-specific directed differentiation process to reproducibly and reliably generate NK cells
  • Will highlight the therapeutic value of pluripotent-derived NK cells including augmented anti-tumor capacity, manufacturing reliability and product safety

3:00 pm Engineered Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Natural Killer Cells with Improved Anti-Tumor Activity

  • Dan Kaufman Professor of Medicine, University of California - San Diego


  • Demonstrating that natural killer (NK) cells can be efficiently derived from both
    human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
  • These hESC/iPSC-derived NK cells have similar characteristics and function as NK
    cells isolated from peripheral blood or cord blood
  • hESC/iPSC-derived NK cells can be engineered to better target refractory
    malignancies. We have used iPSCs as a platform to express chimeric antigen
    receptors (CARs), including novel NK cell-specific CARs
  • Improving NK cell function through addition of autonomous cytokine receptors,
    stabilized expression of CD16, and internal gene edits to improve anti-tumor
    activity. Translation into clinical trials to treat patients with a standardized, “offthe-
    shelf” targeted cellular immunotherapy against refractory malignancies

3:30 pm
Afternoon Refreshments & Poster Session

4:00 pm Utilizing Ex Vivo Expanded Natural Killer Cells for Both Allogeneic and Autologous Uses

  • Evren Alici Assistant Professor of Hematology , Karolinska Institutet


  • Strategies to combine adoptive NK cell therapies with monoclonal antibody therapies
  • Examining bottlenecks and strategies to overcome them in NK cell based immunotherapy clinical trials

4:30 pm Antibody-Cell Conjugation to NK Cells Without Genetic Engineering

  • Sonny Hsiao CEO, President and Co-Founder, Acepodia Inc.


  • Novel technology ACC (Antibody-Cell Conjugation) to chemically conjugate antibodies to NK cells without genetic engineering
  • Signaling pathways activated by novel ACC-NK
  • Testing ACC-NK’s performance in serum and in suppressive tumor microenvironment
  • Testing ACC-NK using in vivo xenograft models of liquid tumors and solid tumors.

5:00 pm Panel Discussion: The Future Potential of NK Cells in Combination Therapies


  • Identify the optimal sequence of treatment for successful combination therapy and detail their development in animal studies
  • Explore the use of targeted antibodies and cytokines to work alongside NK cells to improve their role in persistence and anti-tumor effects
  • Understand the cross-talk between NK cells and T cells, analyzing how an inflammatory microenvironment can stimulate the rest of adaptive immunity to work in combination to increase efficacy
  • Understand ways to exploit the full potential of an immunotherapeutic approach, defining a rational combination approach to maximize efficacies

6:00 pm
Chair’s Closing Remarks

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

6:15 pm
End of Day One