Research in the Nanoimmune Therapeutics Lab focuses on chemo-immunotherapy of solid tumors with nanomedicines and therapeutic devices.


Enhancing Local and Abscopal Immunotherapy for Solid Tumors Using Therapeutic Devices and In-Situ Nanomedicines

Less than half of patients with advanced-stage solid tumors respond to current immunotherapeutic approaches, largely due to the complexity of the tumor microenvironment and variations in cancer types. To address this challenge, our laboratory is pioneering the use of therapeutic devices such as focused ultrasound in combination with nanomedicine-based immunoadjuvants. This approach aims to locally reprogram solid tumors, thereby enhancing the therapeutic response against both treated and untreated tumors through the abscopal effect. To further support improved outcomes, we have developed innovative agents like calreticulin-liposome nanoparticles. These nanoparticles, when administered directly into tumors, bolster immune-mediated tumor detection, particularly in conjunction with ultrasound exposure. Additionally, our research is repurposing systemic toxic agents, such as tumoricidal bacteria and anti-CD40 agonists, for use in immunotherapy when combined with therapeutic devices.


Conducting Canine Immunotherapy Trials to Advance "One Health" and "One Medicine"

Many types of canine cancers closely resemble aggressive human cancers originating in various anatomical locations. Leveraging this similarity, we are adapting our in-house-developed nanomedicines and focused ultrasound therapy for the treatment of canine cancer patients. Rooted in the principles of promoting one health and one medicine and using the concept of bench-to-clinic platform, we actively conduct multiple veterinary cancer trials. We also collaborate closely with human oncology researchers to support parallel trials that utilize these innovative approaches in both veterinary and human settings. Our interdisciplinary effort not only benefits our four-legged companions but also holds promise for advancing cancer treatment across species boundaries.


Identify Biomarkers of Chemo-Immunotherapy Outcomes

Research conducted by us and others has demonstrated that chemo-immunotherapy enhances solid tumors improves outcomes. However, the presence of various intervening factors such as obesity, aging, and microbiomes can influence therapeutic effectiveness. Our current investigations are centered on understanding how local therapy and chronic stress modify the tumor microenvironment, regulated by physiological factors, thus affecting overall tumor immunity. Specifically, we are identifying biomarkers that may predict response or non-response to treatment in such environments, as well as help develop strategies to intervene in non-responders to improve outcomes.