CRI Funded Scientists

Yun Xia, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Massachusetts General Hospital

Area of Research: All Cancers

Immunotherapy has recently emerged as an effective cancer treatment modality that has improved the survival of patients with metastatic cancer like melanoma. Immunotherapy utilizes the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. Cancer immunotherapy has unique advantages compared with other treatment modalities as it can treat several cancer types and relapses are less likely to happen. However, in some cases, immunotherapies may induce excessive inflammation, and cancer immunotherapy does not consistently achieve satisfactory outcomes across cancers. Polyomavirus is a commensal virus that is prevalent in healthy adults and appears to cause little or no symptoms. Considering the effective control of this virus by the human immune system, Dr. Xia has hypothesized that polyomavirus might serve as a novel agent to increase the antitumor therapy efficacy. His aim is to determine how polyomavirus increases cancer immunogenicity. Polyomavirus induces the expression of viral proteins in the tumor cells, which triggers responses by our immune system and recruits more immune cells to attack the tumor. Dr. Xia aims to develop a polyomavirus technology to serve as a novel and safe method for cancer immunotherapy.

Projects and Grants

Harnessing commensal polyomavirus immunity for cancer immunotherapy

Massachusetts General Hospital | All Cancers | 2023 | Shadmehr Demehri, MD, PhD

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