CRI Funded Scientists

Jing Zhang, PhD, CRI-Irvington Postdoctoral Fellow

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Area of Research: Liver Cancer

Dr. Jing Zhang is exploring a novel cancer treatment called anti-PDL1/IL-15 (I) that aims to increase response to the immune checkpoint blockade anti-PDL1 alone, which benefits only 12 of U.S. cancer patients. She recently discovered a new tumor suppression pathway involving cytotoxic tissue-resident type 1 innate lymphocytes (ICL1) that play a role in a cancer’s resistance to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). The immune cytokine IL-15 regulates ICL1 responses, but the toxicity of recombinant IL-15 limits its usability. 

To overcome this limitation, Dr. Zhang developed a non-toxic therapeutic combination, anti-PD-L1/IL-15 (I), which specifically targets tumors. This treatment successfully expanded ILC1s in aggressive liver cancer models and prevented subsequent tumor development in mice. Dr. Zhang is now focused on understanding how the anti-PD-L1/IL-15 (I) therapy works and how it can sustain ICL1 responses to effectively combat tumor recurrence. Her study aims to provide the mechanism of action for ICL1-targeted immunotherapy, offering insights into this novel immunosurveillance response and guiding the development of anti-PD-L1/IL-15 (I) for cancers resistant to ICB therapies. 

Projects and Grants

Trained immunity in type I innate lymphoid cell (ILC1)-targeted cancer immunotherapy 

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