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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