CRI Funded Scientists

Ming O. Li, PhD, CLIP Investigator

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Area of Research: All Cancers

In the past decade, emerging evidence has demonstrated that the immune system can be mobilized to combat cancer. The triumph of checkpoint inhibitors and cellular immunotherapies has since then encouraged a great deal of research efforts to improve their effectiveness. Currently, both modes of treatments exploit the same type of immune cells—T cells—due to their robust proliferation capacity and powerful tumor-killing capabilities. However, increasing evidence demonstrates that such therapies are only effective against a limited spectrum of cancers while the majority of tumor types still do not respond to these treatments.

Therefore, Dr. Ming Li has been using a mouse cancer model to discover new types of immune cells capable of killing tumor cells. Recently, his team identified two novel immune cell populations that exhibit long-lasting capacity to kill transformed tumor cells. Unlike conventional T cells, these newly identified lymphocytes weren’t as easily suppressed by the tumor microenvironment as conventional T cell. Together, the superior immunosurveillance capacity of these cells make them ideal candidates for adoptive cell therapies. In this work, Li will assess their anti-tumor effects and explore means to enhance their functions through bioengineering.

Projects and Grants

Innate and innate-like cytotoxic lymphocytes as templates for anti-tumor adoptive transfer cellular therapy

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | All Cancers | 2020

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