Damon Runyon Researchers

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Ziyang Zhang, PhD

Dr. Zhang is developing a new form of cancer immunotherapy with improved safety and controllability. Redirecting the immune system to launch attacks on tumor cells has emerged as an extremely promising approach to fight cancer. One such strategy, named bispecific T cell engager antibody (BiTE) has shown remarkable efficacy against blood cancers, but it is also associated with severe toxicity. Using tools of synthetic organic chemistry, he aims to build a “chemical switch” that can be used to rapidly tune the activity of BiTE, thus allowing the circumvention of toxic side effects without diminishing therapeutic potential. The ultimate goal of this project is develop a cancer immunotherapy that can be safely employed at doses effective for the treatment of solid tumors.

Project title: "Controlling the activity of bispecific T cell engagers with a chemically cleavable molecular switch"
Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Named Award: HHMI Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Kevan M. Shokat, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Chemical Biology