CRI Funded Scientists

Ning Jenny Jiang, PhD, CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR

University of Pennsylvania

Area of Research: All Cancers

Checkpoint immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, but only a fraction of patients experience complete responses. “Killer” T cells, which target cancer cells via antigens on their surface, play a central role in tumor elimination. But if there are “holes” or “weak spots” in a patient’s cancer-targeting T cell repertoire, cancer cells can escape and render immunotherapy ineffective. Therefore, understanding the T cell repertoires of patients and the antigens holds the key to harnessing the power of T cells to cure more cancers with immunotherapy.

However, being able to quantitatively understand the depth and breadth of the T cell repertoire is challenging, so Dr. Jiang is employing an integrated multi-parameter single-T cell profiling platform, and utilizing her team’s expertise in TCR biophysics, T cell biology, and repertoire population dynamics, to tackle this issue. Her discoveries could provide a framework for the mechanistic understanding of the factors behind the success or failure of current cancer immunotherapies. They could also propel cancer immunotherapy to new heights by directing the development of innovative cancer therapeutic approaches as well as diagnostic and prognostic methods.

Projects and Grants

A systems immunology approach to T cell repertoire in cancer

University of Pennsylvania | All Cancers | 2021

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