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Research in the Yu Laboratory is focused on immune and stem cell therapy for brain tumors, the cancer stem cell (CSC) and its microenvironment in brain tumors, cancer stem cell specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes, cancer stem cell signaling, the mechanism of cancer invasion, targeted immuno-chemotherapy using nanotechnology, development of imaging, and diagnostic agents using nanoparticles.
The Yu lab has developed DC-vaccine-based immunotherapy for brain tumors that led to multi-institutional, randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials, as well as bone marrow–derived neural stem cells for the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The lab has also identified cancer stem cells in glioblastoma and benign tumors, established the concept of a stimuli-responsive nanometer-sized prodrug (nanoprodrug), and developed an oxidative environment–responsive nanoprodrug/drug delivery system for selective targeting of brain tumors. Additionally, the lab has developed an anti-inflammatory nanoplatform for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Current investigations include nanomedicine (targeted chemotherapy of brain tumors with camptothecin nanoprodrug), immuno-chemotherapy using anti-tumor and anti-immunosuppressive nanoprodrugs, and immunotherapy – cancer vaccines to target brain cancer and ovarian cancer.