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Zhen Su's Profile

Homepage: http://www.urology.ufl.edu/su.asp

Research Interests: Cancer Stem Cells

The recent discovery of cancer stem cells has not only expanded our knowledge regarding the oncogenic process, but also has provided new opportunities to develop new and more effective anticancer therapies. Recent studies have demonstrated that cancer stem cells are chemo- and radiation-resistant, explaining the frequent failures of conventional therapies. Most importantly, the migration of cancer stem cells from its origin to other sites has shown to be responsible for the development of metastases, the main cause of cancer death. Therefore, targeting cancer stem cells in conjunction with conventional therapies (i.e. irradiation or chemotherapy) is a novel and appealing concept that is pursued in many research and development programs. Although there is recent evidence that prostate cancer stem cells exist, little is known about their exact phenotype and function in the human prostate environment. In preliminary work, we have recently shown that cancer stem cells can be isolated from human prostate cancer cells using the stem cell markers. Currently, we are conducting research that could directly target cancer stem cells for disrupting tumor regeneration in the cancer patients.

Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cancer Vaccine

Active immunotherapy using antigen-loaded antigen presenting cells (APC) has now become the focus of many academic and industry-based research and development programs since they are highly effective in overcoming immune tolerance by priming potent T-cell immunity in models for cancer or viral disease. The primary drawback of using autologous APC vaccines in clinical trials is that this mode of vaccination is a customized form of cell therapy, necessitating APC generation from every individual patient. For example, preparing human dendritic cells (DC) from progenitor cells remains a complex and laborious task, thereby limiting the availability of cells for vaccination. Moreover, the time interval between the initial cell harvest and the ultimate availability of the vaccine significantly delays or even precludes immunization of patients with progressing tumors or with acute viral disease. Allogeneic vaccines may overcome some of these obstacles, but lack the appropriate HLA or costimulatory molecules to achieve optimal antigen presentation. Our recent evidence suggests that human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines can serve as a virtually unlimited source for generating antigen-loaded APC with either immunostimulatory or immunosuppressive capacity. We are working on bring this cutting edge stem cell technology from bench to the clinic.

Zhen Su's Projects

Medical - Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cancer Vaccine
Principal Investigator: Zhen Su

Active immunotherapy using antigen-loaded antigen presenting cells (APC) has now become the focus of many academic and industry-based research and development programs since they are highly effective in overcoming immune tolerance by priming potent T-cell immunity in models for cancer or viral disease. The primary drawback of using autologous APC vaccines in clinical trials is that this mode of vaccination is a customized form of cell therapy, necessitating APC generation from every individual patient. For example, preparing human dendritic cells (DC) from progenitor cells remains a complex and laborious task, thereby limiting the availability of cells for vaccination. Moreover, the time interval between the initial cell harvest and the ultimate availability of the vaccine significantly delays or even precludes immunization of patients with progressing tumors or with acute viral disease. Allogeneic vaccines may overcome some of these obstacles, but lack the appropriate HLA or costimulatory molecules to achieve optimal antigen presentation. Our recent evidence suggests that human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines can serve as a virtually unlimited source for generating antigen-loaded APC with either immunostimulatory or immunosuppressive capacity. We are working on bring this cutting edge stem cell technology from bench to the clinic.

Requirements: Basic Science Background

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available
Medical - Cancer Stem Cells
Principal Investigator: Zhen Su

The recent discovery of cancer stem cells has not only expanded our knowledge regarding the oncogenic process, but also has provided new opportunities to develop new and more effective anticancer therapies. Recent studies have demonstrated that cancer stem cells are chemo- and radiation-resistant, explaining the frequent failures of conventional therapies. Most importantly, the migration of cancer stem cells from its origin to other sites has shown to be responsible for the development of metastases, the main cause of cancer death. Therefore, targeting cancer stem cells in conjunction with conventional therapies (i.e. irradiation or chemotherapy) is a novel and appealing concept that is pursued in many research and development programs. Although there is recent evidence that prostate cancer stem cells exist, little is known about their exact phenotype and function in the human prostate environment. In preliminary work, we have recently shown that cancer stem cells can be isolated from human prostate cancer cells using the stem cell markers. Currently, we are conducting research that could directly target cancer stem cells for disrupting tumor regeneration in the cancer patients.

Requirements: Basic Science Background

Time Commitment:

Independent Study: Not Available
Work Study: Not Available
Salary: Not Available
Volunteer: Available