The scientific goal of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Hollings Cancer Center is to understand the basic mechanisms by which the immune system is regulated in cancer and to apply these discoveries to the development of immunotherapy trials. The three themes of the Cancer Immunology Program are: 1) Cancer Inflammation & Immune Tolerance: the role of inflammation and cross-talk between the innate and adaptive immune systems in cancer; 2) T-Cell Biology & Therapy: T-cell mediated anti-tumor mechanisms and the development and optimization of novel cell-based therapies; and 3) Antibody, Complement, & Transplant-based Therapies: cross-cutting studies into antibody, complement, and transplant-based immunotherapeutic strategies.
Zihai Li, MD, PhD
Featured Research Project
Tumor-associated Endothelial Cell (TAEC) and Immune Inhibitory CD34+ Progenitor Cells Subvert Immune Defenses: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a major cancer problem in South Carolina. In studying this disease, Dr. M. Rita I. Young has noted that these tumors avoid the immune response However, the complete mechanism for this is only now being defined. Although TAECs have been studied extensively in terms of angiogenesis, their potential contribution to tumor-associated immunosuppression has received scant attention. Dr. Young was among the first to definitively demonstrate that TAECs are immunosuppressive in vitro and in vivo. They play a critical role in immune evasion, and these effects are associated at least in part with the production of pro-inflammatory signals. (MORE)