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Dr. Rong Li’s lab published a paper in OncoImmunology

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Author: GSBS | Category: Of Interest | August 27, 2018

Dr. Rong Li’s lab recently published the paper,Adipose PD-L1 Modulates PD-1/PD-L1 Checkpoint Blockade Immunotherapy Efficacy in Breast Cancer” in OncoImmunology., a journal focused on fundamental and applied tumor immunology.

The paper discovered the importance of adipocyte PD-L1 in dampening anti-tumor immunity. Dr. Li’s team found that (1) Immune checkpoint molecule PD-L1 is significantly upregulated during adipogenesis; (2) Adipose PD-L1 dampens anti-tumor immunity; (3) Adipose PD-L1 can be a new target for breast cancer immunotherapy.

“Immunotherapy has been changing the way that cancer patients being treated in last decade. However, its efficacy is only modest in certain cancer types including breast cancer,” explained Bogang Wu, third year graduate student in Dr. Rong Li’s lab. “Our paper provides the mechanistic insight explaining why breast cancer patients respond miserably to immunotherapy and also promise new target for treating breast cancer by immunotherapy.”

Wu further explained that excessive adiposityand obesity is prevalent across the population. By knowing our research, people will be more aware of the potential detrimentaleffects of obesity on their immune system.

“We are the first to find out the high expression of critical immune checkpoint protein PD-L1 expression in adipocyte and to show that adipocyte PD-L1 is able to dampen anti-tumor immunity,” he said. “Besides, this paper is a collective effort from multiple research groups across the UT Health including Drs. Rong Li, Yanfen Hu and Tyler Curiel’s groups.”

In the future, the team will use in vivoadipose tissue specific PD-L1 depletion mouse model to validate the proposed new concepts that adipocyte PD-L1 is indeed a good target for immunotherapy. They will also find out more effective and specific adipose PD-L1 inhibitor to improve the immunotherapy efficacy in various cancers including breast cancer.

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