I am a physician scientist who treats patients with metastatic uveal melanoma, a very rare and often fatal disease. As a clinician-scientist, I have been focused on finding effective treatments for metastatic uveal melanoma, from the bench to clinical practice and from clinical observation back to the bench. My lab works closely with a clinical trial group and we are actively working on translational research to advance clinical care.
Cancer vaccine to prevent systemic progression of disease (metastasis)
The major goal for this project is to develop immune responses against uveal melanoma cells by targeting GNAQ/GNA11 mutations in the tumors through administration of a cancer vaccine. We previously confirmed that these mutations are immunogenic and could be recognized by the immune system of uveal melanoma patients. We will generate clinical-grade cancer vaccine constructs to start a first-in-human clinical trial.
Cytotoxic lymphocytes Therapy (TCR-T cell & Natural Killer cell) for Liver Metastasis
Our clinical team has been treating patients with embolization (liver-direct therapy). To increase therapeutic options and the efficacy of liver-direct therapy, we have been focusing on the development of cytotoxic lymphocytes for liver-directed cell therapy approaches. TCR-T cells and NK cells are immune cells that can kill uveal melanoma cells. We plan to start a small clinical trial to infuse cytotoxic lymphocyte therapy to the hepatic (liver) artery of patients with liver metastasis.
Mouse models to test new drugs and understand biological mechanisms for metastatic uveal melanoma.
We developed specific mouse models for metastatic uveal melanoma using patients’ own tumors. This is called “patient-derived” xenograft (PDX) mouse models. We have been studying targeting GNAQ/GNA11 inhibitors, growth factors, and metabolism. We are also studying clinical findings using these models. If we identify effective medicines, we could smoothly move into an early phase clinical study.