Xianzheng Zhou MD, PhD

New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, Cell Biology and Anatomy, Director, Translational Tumor Immunology Research

Research Focus: Immunotherapy

Cancer Type: Lymphoma & Leukemia

Award: Young Investigator

While an Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, at University of Minnesota, Dr. Zhou received the 2005 Young Investigator Award.

The objective of this research is to test whether a novel naked DNA-based vehicle, Sleeping Beauty transposon, can express therapeutic molecules for the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. T cells will be engineered to carry a therapeutic gene and a suicide gene, and tested for efficacy. The proposed research is significant because it is expected to develop a novel, simple, inexpensive, efficient, and safe gene therapy using T cells for the treatment of patients with relapsed leukemia and lymphoma after chemotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation. This is a particularly ideal approach for clinical treatment for children.

Current Research:

Dr. Zhou has been able to demonstrate stable gene transfer via the Sleeping Beauty transposon system, which has huge implications for not only the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, but the field of gene therapy as a whole. Dr. Zhou is also looking at other types of potential treatments with T Cells. Looking at the molecular targets recognized by donor T Cells in their patients, he hopes to identify what causes these cells to recognize and attack tumor cells after transplant (the graft-versus-tumor effect), or be rejected by the recipient’s immune system (graft-versus-host disease). In the future, Dr. Zhou hopes to continue to use and improve therapy with the Sleepy Beauty transposon as well as continue his research on T Cells and potential T Cell therapy for leukemia and lymphoma.

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