Cancer Immunotherapeutics

Scientists in City of Hope’s Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program (CI) are focused on finding new ways to use an old weapon to treat cancer. Researchers here concentrate on discovering new methods of inciting the human immune system to attack tumor cells.

Led by Peter P. Lee, M.D., and Hua Yu, Ph.D., immunotherapeutics researchers are responsible for the discovery and application of more specific and less toxic cancer therapies, then translating them into clinical practice.
Investigators with expertise in specialized areas of cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology are focused on the following:
  • Developing approaches to enhance the efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy and cancer vaccines .
  • Modulating the tumor microenvironment to enhance immunotherapy.
  • Developing novel antibody therapies and imaging modalities.
Within each of these areas, research is ongoing to reduce health disparities within the City of Hope service area.

Along with its elite research team, the CI Program has also assembled a robust support team. The team handles regulatory and cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) issues and provides the infrastructure necessary to conduct first-in-human clinical trials. Those trials constitute the first testing in humans of what the Food and Drug Administration terms “investigational new drugs” (INDs).
Another portion of the support team consists of the Clinical Immunobiology Correlative Studies Laboratory. It was established to gather data from treated patients that can be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new treatments.
Research in City of Hope’s CI Program has yielded a growing portfolio of active investigational new drugs. New FDA-authorized therapies impact a growing number of patients, including those with glioma, lymphoma, childhood neuroblastoma and colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. In the next few years, additional protocols for lung cancer, ovarian cancer, leukemias and pediatric embryonic brain tumors will be added.