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You-Wen He, MD, PhD

Professor of Immunology
Campus Mail: 335 Jones Building, 207 Resear, Box 3010 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 613-7870
Email: he000004@mc.duke.edu

We study T cell biology in health and disease. Our current study is divided into two parts. Part I is to investigate T lymphocyte-mediated anti-caner immunity. We have found that host complement inhibits the cytokine IL-10 production in CD8+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes through complement receptors C3aR and C5aR. Complement-deficient animals are resistant to tumor development in a T cell- and IL-10-dependent manner. CD8+ tumor infiltrating T cells express IL-10 when complement signaling is disabled. We found that tumor infiltrating lymphocytes from human cancers expanded with IL-2 plus IL-10 are potent tumor killers. Complement-mediated inhibition on antitumor immunity is independent of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint pathway. Our findings suggest that complement receptors C3aR and C5aR expressed on CD8+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes represent a novel class of immune checkpoints that needs to be targeted for tumor immunotherapy. Our current effort is to enhance cancer immunotherapy through several strategies. First, we investigate a combined blockade of complement signaling and anti-PD-1 to enhance the antitumor efficacy; second, we are studying the antitumor efficacy of a targeted delivery of IL-10 to antitumor CD8+ T cells by using anti-PD1-IL-10 or anti-CTLA-4-IL-10 fusion proteins; third, we are studying the tumor killing efficacy of addition of IL-10 in the expansion protocol of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes for adaptive cellular therapy.

Part II is to investigate the intracellular process termed autophagy in T lymphocyte function. Autophagy is a highly conserved self-digestion pathway that plays essential roles in maintaining the homeostasis of organelles, degrading long-lived proteins and recycling amino acids under starvation conditions. We have found that autophagy related molecules are expressed in T lymphocytes and autophagy occurs inside T lymphocytes. We have generated autophagy-deficient T lymphocytes in multiple genetic models and investigated the roles of autophagy in T lymphocytes. We found that autophagy plays a critical role in T lymphocyte function. Our current effort is to elucidate the molecular pathways by which TCR signal induces autophagy and the impact of autophagy on intracellular organelle homeostasis in dividing T cells.   

 

 

 

Education and Training

  • Senior Fellow, Immunology, University of Washington, 1996 - 2000
  • Ph.D., University of Miami, 1996
  • M.D., Fourth Military Medical University (China), 1986

Selected Publications

He, YW, Levy, RB, and Malek, TR. "Blockade of T- and B-lymphocyte development by antibody to the gamma c subunit of the receptors for interleukins 2, 4, and 7." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 92, no. 12 (June 6, 1995): 5689-5693.

Scholars@Duke

Malek, TR, Furse, RK, Fleming, ML, Fadell, AJ, and He, YW. "Biochemical identity and characterization of the mouse interleukin-2 receptor beta and gamma c subunits." J Interferon Cytokine Res 15, no. 5 (May 1995): 447-454.

Full Text

He, YW, Adkins, B, Furse, RK, and Malek, TR. "Expression and function of the gamma c subunit of the IL-2, IL-4, and IL-7 receptors. Distinct interaction of gamma c in the IL-4 receptor." J Immunol 154, no. 4 (February 15, 1995): 1596-1605.

Scholars@Duke

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