Juan Pinedo

Class of 2022-2023

St. Mary's University, 2022
Biochemistry Major

Why did you choose ESTEEM? 

I chose to come to ESTEEM to broaden my skill set and apply my technical background to a more business oriented area. I have be given the general impression by the professors in my field that there is a divide in the understanding between these two areas and I would like to do my part to alleviate it. I also would like to be able to help my family with the family business and general business questions.

What is your Capstone Project and why are you excited it? 

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. To combat this new cancer treatments have been developed to raise the survival rate of cancer diagnosis. One of these treatments, Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell therapy (CAR-T), has been especially useful in raising the survival rate of patients that do not respond to traditional treatments. The known issues however are that CAR-T therapy can lead to cytokine release syndrome, are expensive and time consuming to produce, target healthy cells as well as tumor cells, and do not effectively target solid tumors.

To solve these problems Dr. Nallathamby is proposing the retargeting of universal CAR-T cells with novel nanoparticles. These nanoparticles can be created with specificity for particular cancer cell lines. The nanoparticles are able to bind to the cancer cells and guide CAR-T cells to the site. By directing off-the-shelf universal CAR-T cells, the nanoparticles are able to reduce off-target toxicity, reduce the manufacturing bottleneck, turn on CAR-T cells at the cancerous site to avoid cytokine storms, and can be formulated to target different cancer lineages.

The student will analyze the market for the needs of physicians and cancer patients to determine the role that the nanoparticle technology can play in the cancer treatment space. The student will also determine the financial viability of the product and give advice on what business strategy to enter the market with.

What do you hope to do after ESTEEM? 

After graduation from the ESTEEM program I hope to return to Texas and work for one of the multiple biomedical and biotechnical companies in the area. I will work to advise and strengthen the commercialization of their products as well as use my technical background in Biochemistry to help in the development of new products for the progress of therapeutic science.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

When I am not working I like to read science fiction and fantasy books. I also enjoy relaxing and playing videogames with my friends or exploring a games lore and history at my own pace. Sometimes I could explain more about the backstory and in game history than I can about how to actually play the game. I also greatly enjoy card games and have been learning to play the games associated with the trading cards I have accumulated over the years.