Project Title: A pilot study of developing T cell-based cancer immunotherapies for African American and Hispanic populations
Yong-Chen “William” Lu, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology in the UAMS College of Medicine and a Member in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Award will support his research in developing T cell-based cancer immunotherapies for African American and Hispanic populations.
In recent clinical trials, T cell-based cancer immunotherapies have shown strong clinical responses for patients with cancer. Patients who experience complete, durable responses are likely cancer free. One of the major requirements for this new type of treatment is that only patients with certain types of human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are qualified. However, the majority of previous studies have been focused on common HLAs for the Caucasian population. As a result, cancer patients within the African American and Hispanic populations are far less likely to qualify for these treatments in the near future. To address this, he plans to focus on the development of new T cell-based immunotherapies specifically for the African American and Hispanic populations. These efforts will potentially bring new treatments for cancer patients from underserved populations. Furthermore, the knowledge and research tools obtained from this study can also apply to other types of immune-related treatments for the underserved populations, such as treatments for infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Lu joined the UAMS as a new faculty member in 2021. He received his Ph.D. training at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Canada. After finishing his Ph.D. training in 2009, he became a postdoctoral visiting fellow at Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was promoted to a research fellow position in 2014 and a staff scientist position in 2016, prior to joining the UAMS.
Mayumi Nakagawa, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathology, UAMS College of Medicine; Co-leader, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute; Drs. Mae and Anderson Nettleship Endowed Chair in Oncologic Pathology.
Terry Harville, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathology, Laboratory Services and Internal Medicine, UAMS College of Medicine; Medical Director, Histocompatibility, Immunogenetics and Transplantation Laboratory.
Steven Post, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pathology, UAMS College of Medicine; Director, UAMS Tissue Biorepository and Procurement Service; Director, UAMS Experimental Pathology Research Core.
Alan J. Tackett, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UAMS College of Medicine; Deputy Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute; Scharlau Family Endowed Chair of Cancer Research; Director, Center for Translational Pediatric Research; Director, NIH IDeA National Resource for Proteomics.