A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE

Liu, Chih-Pin, Ph.D. Research

Chih-Pin Liu, Ph.D. Research
T-cells and Immunity
T-cells play a central role in the generation of the host’s immunity to infections and tumors, and in the regulation of autoimmunity and allergy.  A critical prerequisite for selection and maturation of T-cells is cell surface expression of the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) complex, which is responsible for recognition of antigens and for transmitting signals inside the cell. These processes are regulated by the interaction of TCR with antigens presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules expressed on antigen presenting cells. Research carried out in this laboratory investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying T-cell mediated immunity against tumors and the roles of T-cells in regulating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Mechanisms underlying T-cell-mediated Immunity
Recognition of the MHC/antigen complex by TCRs generates a series of signaling events that regulate the behavior and function of T-cells. To study the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating T-cell mediated immunity, we will use state-of-art molecular and proteomics (the study of proteins) approaches to identify the molecules regulating the activation and apoptosis of normal T cells and T cell leukemia. We will also investigate the in vivo role of these molecules using transgenic and gene knockout mice. These proteins may serve as molecular targets for modulating the function of T-cells and for the further immunotherapeutic treatment of various types of cancers. Moreover, we will perform experiments to determine the mechanisms that regulate T-cell functions responsible for tumor immunity and autoimmunity.

Regulation of Autoimmune Disease
In autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, presentation of autoantigens by disease-associated MHC plays a critical role in the selection and activation of disease-associated T-cells.  It is now known that T-cells not only function as pathogenic T-cells that cause the disease but also function as regulatory T-cells that inhibit the disease. It has been shown that antigen-specific regulatory T-cells are more potent than a heterogeneous population of regulatory T cells in suppressing pathogenic processes. Therefore, it is desirable to use antigen-specific regulatory T cells to modulate the function of pathogenic T-cells to prevent autoimmune disease. It has been historically very difficult for immunologists to identify and isolate a sufficient number of antigen-specific T cells for further studies. We have addressed this question using novel multivalent MHC/ antigen tetramers, and have identified and isolated several lines of antigen-specific regulatory T-cells. We have demonstrated that the isolated regulatory T-cells can effectively inhibit type 1 diabetes.  Based on these findings, we will investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the regulation of pathogenic T cell by these regulatory T cells that lead to prevention of the disease.  We will also examine whether these potent regulatory T cells can be used as a treatment to prevent the immune destruction of islet grafts in an animal model for islet transplantation.

Lab Members

Chih-Pin Liu, Ph.D.
626-256-HOPE (4673),ext. 63455

Weiting Du, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673),ext. 63427

Jiangying Shen, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673),ext. 6037

Ding Wang, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
626-256-HOPE (4673),ext. 65254

Wenhui Lee, M.S.
Senior Research Associate
Research Associate
626-256-HOPE (4673),ext. 65525

Yueh-Wei Shen
Research Associate II
626-256-HOPE (4673),ext. 65520
Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.

Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is internationally  recognized for its innovative biomedical research.
City of Hope is one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, the highest designation awarded by the National Cancer Institute to institutions that lead the way in cancer research, treatment, prevention and professional education.
Learn more about City of Hope's institutional distinctions, breakthrough innovations and collaborations.
Develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Support Our Research
By giving to City of Hope, you support breakthrough discoveries in laboratory research that translate into lifesaving treatments for patients with cancer and other serious diseases.
  • Nausea is the one of the most well-known, and dreaded, side effects of cancer treatment — and with good reason. Beyond the quality-of-life issues that it causes, severe nausea can prevent patients from receiving enough nutrients and calories at a time when they need every edge they can get. A few simple actions...
  • With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is on its way out. But just because summertime is ending doesn’t mean we can skip sunscreen. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is needed all year round. Exposure to UV radiation — whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used i...
  • Undergoing reconstructive surgery may seem like a forgone conclusion for survivors of breast cancer, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. A new study has found that most breast cancer survivors who undergo a mastectomy decide against surgical reconstruction of their breasts. The reasons for such a deci...
  • Nearly four decades ago, City of Hope began its bone marrow transplant program. Its first transplant reunion celebration was a single patient and his donor, also his brother. This year, City of Hope welcomed hundreds of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients to the annual bone marrow transplant/HCT reun...
  • The burgeoning type 2 diabetes epidemic casts a pall over the health of America’s public. New research now shows the looming threat is getting worse. Much worse. A diabetes trends study published earlier this month in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Contro...
  • An aspirin a day might help keep breast cancer away for some breast cancer survivors, a new study suggests. Obese women who have had breast cancer could cut their risk of a recurrence in half if they regularly take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDs, report researchers from the...
  • Christine Crews isn’t only a fitness enthusiast, she’s also a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Being active defines her life. So when she was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 30, she decided she absolutely couldn’t let the disease interfere with that lifestyle. And it didn’t. For t...
  • Cancer treatment and the cancer itself can cause changes in your sense of taste or smell. These side effects typically subside after treatment ends, but there are ways to help alleviate those bitter and metallic tastes in your mouth. Here are tips from the National Cancer Institute to help keeps tastes and food...
  • Immunotherapy — using one’s immune system to treat a disease — has been long lauded as the “magic bullet” of cancer treatments, one that can be more effective than the conventional therapies of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. One specific type of immunotherapy, called adoptive T cell thera...
  • Today, when cancer spreads from its original site to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis, patients face an uphill battle. Treatments are poorly effective, and cures are nearly impossible. Further, incidence rates for these types of cancers are increasing – particularly for cancers that have s...
  • Thanks to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), high school students across the state gained valuable hands-on experience with stem cell research this summer. City of Hope hosted eight of those students. As part of the CIRM Creativity Awards program, the young scholars worked full time as m...
  • Radiation therapy can help cure many children facing Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers. When the radiation is delivered to a girl’s chest, however, it can lead to a marked increase in breast cancer risk later in life. A recent multi-institutional study that included City of Hope’s Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., t...
  • A patient diagnosed with cancer – especially a rare, advanced or hard-to-treat cancer – needs specialized care from exceptionally skilled and highly trained experts. That kind of care saves lives, improves quality of life and keeps families whole. That kind of care is best found at comprehensive cancer centers ...
  • Appetite loss may be common during cancer treatment, lasting throughout your therapy or only occasionally, but it can be managed. Below are tips from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that can help you keep your weight up and, in doing so, keep your body well-nourished. (See the end of this article for a deli...
  • Myelodysplasia, sometimes referred to as myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, is a rare group of blood disorders caused by disrupted development of blood cells within the bone marrow, resulting in a decreased number of healthy blood cells. People diagnosed with the condition, considered a precancer, may be at great...