Sara Mangsbo will speak at the Scheele symposium


Get a glimpse of the research that you will get the opportunity to learn more about at the Scheele symposium! The Scheele laureate Professor Peter G. Schultz is one of the pioneers in the field of chemical and synthetic biology and during the summer we will introduce the guest speakers who are all active in related fields. One of them is PhD Sara Mangsbo from Uppsala University:

How does your research relate to Prof. Shultz’s scientific work?

— Professor Schultz is a pioneer in chemical engineering and innovative ways to expand the knowledge about small molecules, peptides, protein drug evolution as well as in advances in methodologies facilitating drug development. My research also spans over drug development and method development, specifically within the area of immunology with a focus on oncology. Lately we have explored a new way to deliver peptide cargo to immune cells, with an affinity linkage rather than chemical linkage strategy. We have called the method the Adaptable Drug Affinity Conjugate (ADAC) technology which is currently used in preclinical drug development projects with Strike Pharma AB.

Can you explain the potential applications and impact of your research for drug discovery/drug development?

— In clinical praxis in oncology, a very effective therapy is the use of so-called check-point inhibitors (CPIs) targeting PD1, PDL1 and CTLA-4. CPIs ensure that an existing immune response against a tumor, can be sustained. We however also need to develop drugs that can instruct the immune response to generate new immune cell clones that can target the tumors micro-environment if there is no existing immune response to rely on. Our drug development projects aim to introduce specificity and de novo generation of immune cells in the body of a patient, as a mean to complement CPI therapies. I am involved in Ultimovacs ASA/AB that is currently engaged in five phase II studies in five different oncology indications to evaluate the hypothesis of combining a universal cancer vaccine with CPIs, which I hope will lead to improved understanding of the clinical use of this type of combination.

How has your research contributed for the benefit of patients?

— Apart from that we are actively engaged in ensuring that our early academic research is transformed into drug development projects that enter the clinic, which we have managed in multiple projects over the years, I have also worked actively on repurposing a screening method to predict infusion reactions when a drug meets blood. This method, that we today call ID.Flow ,is provided globally by Immuneed AB. ID.Flow is currently used by pharmaceutical companies worldwide to ensure safety data prior to first-in-human studies. We also see that this benefits both healthy volunteers and patients to reduce their risk when they choose to engage in clinical trials, but that it can also advance the knowledge of complex molecules use in humans.

What are some recent breakthroughs or discoveries that will advance in your field?

— We have all noticed the breakthroughs of the use of CPIs across many indications in oncology from the last two decades of preclinical and clinical development. The documented understanding of the power that vests in a T cell, to enable specific and effective tumor killing, is a true breakthrough. The recent advances in the use of the mRNA technology for vaccine development is another one. Both of which really advances the field in which I operate. Recently we have also noticed that data generation from the combination of a truly individualized vaccine plus CPI can benefit patients’ lives.

What advice would you give to aspiring researchers interested in pursuing a career in chemical biology, and how can they contribute?

— Chemical biology involves so many exciting areas such as biochemistry, cell biology and pharmacology. To pursue a career in this area means that you will truly be part of translational projects exchanging ideas and innovation opportunities across disciplines with the chance to positively impact our lives ahead. You could with your expertise, for example, aid a person like me, an immunologist, with your tools and knowledge. Possibly leading up the optimal design of a vaccine or antibody-based drug that will ultimately improve the life of patients suffering from severe diseas