Liang Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Robertson Foundation FellowStanford University

The CRI postdoctoral fellowship has encouraged me to pursue interdisciplinary research that meets the grand challenges facing cancer immunotherapy.
Area of Research: Melanoma

Checkpoint immunotherapies against the PD-1 pathway work by reinvigorating T cells that target antigens, or markers, on tumors. However, there’s not yet an efficient, validated method to determine which specific antigens actually get targeted, so Dr. Liang Chen’s team has developed an algorithm to help streamline this identification. Importantly, because a single antigen can be targeted by a “cluster” comprised of non-identical of T cells, this algorithm enables these clustered T cells to be grouped within individual patients as well as between patients. Overall, Dr. Chen aims to identify the clusters associated with positive responses to checkpoint immunotherapy and the recurrent melanoma tumor antigens that elicit these T cell responses. Additionally, along with characterizing the mechanisms that suppress tumor-targeting T cells in treatment-resistant patients, his insights may be able to improve doctors’ ability to stimulate successful immune responses against patients’ tumors.

Projects and Grants

Systemic identification of melanoma-specific antigens that can elicit cytotoxic T cell responses following anti-PD1 immunotherapy

Stanford University | Melanoma | 2017 | Mark M. Davis, Ph.D.

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