The University of Georgia, Athens, GA Professor & GRA Distinguished Investigator,Department Infectious Diseases, Infectious Diseases,
Research Focus: Tumor Specific Replicating Virus
Cancer Type: Breast Cancer
Award: Young Investigator
While at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. He was awarded the 2005 Research Grant for his work on breast cancer.
It is known that cancer cells are often defective in anti-viral pathways and are thus susceptible to virus infection. SV5, also known as PIV5, is not associated with symptoms or diseases in humans. This study will test the hypothesis that SV5 mutant viruses can selectively kill advanced tumors. SV5 viruses with mutation in SH or V proteins induce apoptosis in many cell types. Initial results have been promising with late-stage solid tumors, and in preliminary studies, mutant SV5 viruses killed human metastatic breast cancer cells, as well as Lewis lung carcinoma cells. Using cytolytic viruses as anti-tumor agent provides a viable alternative to surgery and chemotherapy.
Dr. He has been studying viruses and understanding viral pathogenesis at the molecular level. He has looked at various viruses, such as the mumps, and identified certain proteins that play a huge role in pathogenesis and allowing the virus to take control of the cells of its host. Understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis will not only allow Dr. He to better understand the viruses themselves and how to better treat them, but it demonstrates how these viruses overcome defense mechanisms in the cell. This knowledge can be applied to the treatment of cancer and can be utilized to try to use these viruses against the cancer cells, as Dr. He has been doing with the PIV5 virus. Currently, Dr. He is investigating PIV5 as a potential vector for cancer vaccines, a treatment that is now being used as a live vaccine on mice with hopes of successful results.Return to Fellows List