Cassian Yee, M.D.
Areas of Research
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Adoptive Cell Therapy
- Brain and CNS Tumor
- Breast Cancer
- CAR T-cells
- Chromatin Remodelers
- Computational Biology
- CRISPR Screens
- Esophageal Cancer
- Histone Modification
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Tumor Microenvironment
Our lab has been engaged in the study of tumor and viral immunology to advance the use of adoptive cellular therapy over the last 20 years. We have focused our research towards an understanding of human T cell biology and anti-tumor immunity and the development of translational strategies which have led to several first-in-human studies of adoptive therapy using antigen-specific T cells. Three factors correlate with clinical efficacy:
- in vivo persistence of the transferred T cells
- acquisition of central memory properties
- induction of antigen-spreading.
By applying fundamental insights gained from mechanistic benchtop studies in immunobiology, epigenetics and metabolism, we can enhance intrinsic properties of T cell memory and function which, when combined with extrinsic immunomodulation of the tumor microenvironment through the use checkpoint blockade and costimulatory agonists facilitate antigen-spreading and functional persistence. Combination strategies involving adoptive cellular therapy and immunomodulation will be used address the challenge of treating patients with solid, liquid and rare tumors.
Hasan, F, Chiu Y, Shaw RM, Wang J, Yee C. Hypoxia acts as an environmental cue for the human tissue resident memory T cell differentiation program. Journal of Clinical Investigation. In Press.
Ma Y, Li J, Wang H, Chiu Y, Kingsley CV, Fry D, Delaney SN, Wei SC, Zhang J, Maitra A, Yee C. Combination of PD1 Inhibitor and OX40 Agonist Induces Tumor Rejection and Immune Memory in Mouse Models of Pancreatic Cancer. Gastroenterology 159(1):306-319.e12, 7/2020. e-Pub 3/2020. PMCID: PMC7387152
Wang J, Hasan F, Frey AC, Li HS, Park J, Pan K, Haymaker C, Bernatchez C, Lee DA, Watowich SS, Yee C. Histone deacetylase inhibitors and IL21 cooperate to reprogram human effector CD8+ T cells to memory T cells. Cancer Immunol Res 8(6):794-805, 6/2020. e-Pub 3/2020. PMCID: PMC7269845.
Chapuis AG, Desmarais C, Emerson R, Schmitt TM, Shibuya K, Lai I, Wagener F, Chou J, Roberts IM, Coffey DG, Warren E, Robbins H, Greenberg PD, Yee C. Tracking the fate and origin of clinically relevant adoptively transferred CD8+ T cells in vivo. Sci Immunol 2(8), 2/2017. e-Pub 2/2017. PMCID: PMC5371351.
Adoptive T Cell Therapy of Cancer, RCTS# 2016-00552378, Parker
Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Adoptive T Cell Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer, R01CA237672, NIH/NCI
Developing single-cell RNAseq- based genetic screens to identify novel targets for cancer immunotherapy, RP200520, Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center SPORE in Melanoma – Project 3: Immunotherapeutic Targeting of SLC45A2 for Treatment of Uveal Melanoma, P50CA221703-01, NIH/NCI