Recent News in the Zihai Li Lab
Alessandra Metelli and Dr. Ephraim Ansa-Addo Receive Oral Presentation and Travel Awards for the Society of Immunotherapy Meeting - September 2016
Alessandra Metelli will present on cancer promotion and immune tolerance via cancer cell-intrinsic surface expression of GARP.
Dr. Ephraim Ansa-Addo will present on how the lack of moesin improves adoptive T cell therapy by potentiating anti-tumor functions.
Dr. Li was interviewed by MUSC's very own Helen Adams regarding his role as leader of the Cancer Immunology Program and the direction of immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Read the full interview in the link above.
Dr. Li Receives 2016 Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award - July 2016
Dr. Zihai Li is the recipient of the prestigious Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award for 2016. The award is aimed at a faculty mentor or other colleague who is widely recognized as an outstanding research mentor and who encourages and supports the advancement of others as successful, extramurally funded investigators. Mentoring the next generation of biomedical researchers has been a highlight of Dr. Li’s career. He shares his passion and energy for discovery with his mentees.
Dr. Feng Hong Receives $30,000 ACS-IRF Award - December 2015
The project, titled “Roles of CNPY2 in regulating UPR-associated Liver Cancer,” has the following aims:
Aim 1: Determine the mechanisms of CNPY2 in regulating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Aim 2. Determine whether CNPY2 can serve as a potential therapeutic target for treatment of HCC.
Harnessing the Immune System to Fight Cancer - September 2015
Learn about how Dr. Li and other laboratories here at MUSC are using the bodies own immune system to fight cancer in a video produced right here on campus.
Precision therapies target specific mutations to knock out pathways involved in cancer development. Cancer is devious, however, and can develop resistance to these therapies by using redundant pathways. Zihai Li, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has shown that the heat shock protein grp94 is a master regulator of many oncogenic pathways, making it an attractive drug target. A grp94 inhibitor could block multiple cancer-associated pathways at once, reducing the likelihood of resistance.
In September 2015, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and its partners Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University at Buffalo were awarded a five-year $6.8 million program project grant from the National Institutes of Health to elucidate the underlying biology and structure of the heat shock protein grp94 and to develop grp94 inhibitors for clinical trial. The award will fund three projects and two cores to accelerate the development of grp94-based cancer therapeutics.
Li is the national principal investigator for the grant, will head up its administrative core, and will lead a project to use genetic, biochemical, and immunological tools to elucidate the mechanisms by which grp94 promotes cancer and to assess the therapeutic potential of grp94 inhibitors against triple-negative breast cancer.
Gabriela Chiosis, Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering, whose laboratory has previously developed successful inhibitors against other heat shock proteins, will head the Medicinal Chemistry core and develop identified grp94-inhibiting compounds into pharmacologically viable agents for clinical trial. Structural biologist Daniel T. Gewirt, Ph.D. of the University at Buffalo will map the atomic structure of grp94 so that new inhibitors can be identified and engineered for better selectivity and binding capacity.