My work focuses on Tumor Immunology with a particular interest in T-cell based and immune checkpoint-based cancer immunotherapy, targeting melanoma, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer. I truly believe that my research focus, i.e., the biological and immunological decipherment of T cells will have a profound impact on cancer immunotherapy. Our studies are highly impactful because they hold great promise to significantly advance the therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy of human cancers. 

The major goal of my research program is to elucidate the role of a common cytokine receptor ϒ chain family member IL-9 in the regulation of tumor immunity. Collectively, we revealed an IL-9-dependent antitumor response of IL-9-producing T cells, which was qualitatively and quantitatively superior to the immune response induced by Type I cytotoxic T cells, indicating that these subsets of T cells may be used to treat human cancers with greatly enhanced efficacy compared to the cells currently used in the clinic. A commentary written by Dr. Edgar Schmitt and Dr. Tobias Bopp in J Clin Invest 2013 comments that my work revealed an amazing new function of the “old” cytokine IL-9. Our current efforts are focused on the potential and the cellular mechanism of Th9 cells as a new paradigm of CD4+ T cells to eradicate advanced tumors. 

Lu Lab Hyper Proliferation - Microbiology and Immunology
Another part of our current research is to develop novel strategies to reprogram the immunosuppressive microenvironment toward an immunostimulatory transcriptional program in order to restore cytotoxicity T cell activation and sensitize tumors for cancer immunotherapy with immune checkpoint blockade (e.g. PD-1, CTLA-4, and Tim3).

Research Interests

Adoptive T cell therapy, Car T cells, Th9 cells, Tumor microenvironment, Immuno-checkpoint blockade, Pancreatic and Breast cancer

Highlighted Publications

Th9 cells represent a new paradigm of CD4+ T cells endowed with the ability to eradicate advanced tumors. Yong Lu, Wang Q, Xue Gang, Bi E, Ma X, Wang A, Qian J, Dong C and Yi Q. Cancer Cell, 2018, 33 (6), 1048-1060. e7. 
Therapeutic effects of CSF1R-blocking antibodies in multiple myeloma.. Wang Q, Yong Lu, Li R, Jiang Y, Zheng Y, Qian J, Bi E, Zheng C, Hou J, Wang S, Yi Q.. Leukemia. 2017 Jun 19.

p38 MAPK-inhibited dendritic cells induce superior antitumour immune responses and overcome regulatory T-cell-mediated immunosuppression.. Yong Lu, Mingjun Zhang, Siqing Wang, Bangxing Hong, Zhiqiang Wang, Haiyan Li et al. Nature communications 2014 Jun 24;5:4229

Tumor-specific CD8+ Tc9 cells are superior effector than Tc1 cells for adoptive immunotherapy of cancers.. Yong Lu, Hong Bangxing, Li Haiyan, Zheng Yuhuan, Zhang Mingjun, Wang Siqing, Qian Jianfei, Yi Qing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 2014 Feb 11;111(6):2265-70 

Th9 cells promote antitumor immune responses in vivo Yong Lu, Sungyoul Hong, Haiyan Li, Park Junsung, Hong Bangxing, Wang Lijuan, Zheng Yuhuan et al. "." The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2012, 122(11): 4160-4171.