PRODUCTS UNDER DEVELOPMENT
1.) Epigenetic Agents
2.) OPN Monoclonal Antibodies
3.) COVID-19 Antagonists
PHONE: 706-721-2319

WHO WE ARE

The Team
Tel: 706-721-2319
E-mail: kebin.liu@chemedimmune.com
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Kebin Liu, Ph.D.

Founder and Administrative Officer

Dr. Liu is an expert in immunobiology and immunotherapy. He has decades of expertise in research of target-immune system interactions for the development of molecular mechanism-based therapies to boost the immune system to fight diseases, such as cancer and inflammatory diseases. In the tumor immunobiology field, Dr. Liu’s research focuses on the molecular mechanism underlying tumor cell acquisition of resistance to immune attack and resultant immune escape, with a particular interest in epigenetic regulation of genes involved in tumor cell survival mechanisms. In the tumor immunotherapy field, Dr. Liu has been in the frontline in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor-induced immune suppression with a particular interest in myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). The rationale is that if tumor cells are resistant to immune cell (e.g., T cells) cytotoxicity and/or can mount an immune suppressive response, then the cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) are not going to be able to kill the tumor cells regardless how potent these T cells are. Our aim is thus to develop targeted therapies to disarm tumor cell defense mechanisms (survival and immune suppression) and to arm T cells to achieve maximal efficacy in cancer immunotherapy.
Dr. Liu has recently expanded to the new research area in therapy for COVID-19. The major focus is two folds: first, he is interested in the underlying mechanism of NF-κB-mediated cytokine release syndrome in COVID-19 pathogenesis; and second, he and CheMedImmune are developing antagonists and blockade antibodies based on the interaction between SARS-2-S and ACE2 to block SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cells.

Professional Membership:
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Immunologists

Publications:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Kebin+Liu

Chunwan Lu, Ph.D.

CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER

Dr. Lu has a Ph.D degree in Pharmacy and postdoctoral training in Cancer Biology and Immunology. Her research area is tumor immunology and drug development. Over the last few years, she has made significant contributions in elucidating the molecular mechanism underlying epigenetic regulation of tumor cell immune evasion. Dr. Lu is the first one to determine that PD-L1 expression is regulated by an epigenetic mechanism in human pancreatic cancer. Human pancreatic cancer is historically treated as an immunologically “cold” cancer. Dr. Lu determined that pancreatic cancer is not really a cold cancer. Her findings indicate that: 1) CTLs do infiltrates human pancreatic cancer, albeit at a lower frequency; and 2) immune suppression, such as tumor- and MDSC-expressed PD-L1, and chronic inflammation suppress tumor-infiltrating CTLs to make pancreatic cancer an immunologically “cold” cancer. According, Dr. Lu determined that epigenetic targeting of PD-L1 expression in tumor cells and MDSCs and inhibition of the chronic JAK-STAT signaling effectively overcame pancreatic cancer resistance to immune checkpoint immunotherapy.

Patent:
US 10,577,371 B2, Small Molecule Histone Methyltransfease SUV39H1 Inhibitor and Uses Thereof. Approved on March 3, 2020.

Professional Membership:
2013-- Member, Women in Cancer Research working group (WICR)
2015-- Member of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
2016-- Member of American Association for Immunologists (AAI)
2017-- Editorial Board Member for Journal of Immunology and Immunotherapy, Journal of Oncology Research Forecast
2018-- Reviewer Member for Translational Cancer Research, Cancer Management and Research, Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology
2018-- External Referee for UK Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund

Awards
2019 American Association of Immunologists Chambers-Thermo Fisher Memorial Award.
2020 American Association of Immunologists Early Career Faculty Travel Grant.

Publications:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/chunwan.lu.1/bibliography/51531939/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending

Priscilla S. Redd, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Redd has a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology and postdoctoral training in T cell immunology and tumor immunotherapy. Dr. Redd has made significant contributions in determining the functions of and mechanism underlying NF-ҝB regulation of gene expression in tumor cells, myeloid cells, and T cells. Dr. Redd determined that PD-1 expression is mediated by epigenetic as well as transcription regulation. Specifically, she discovered that H3K4me3 and the NF-ҝB p50 homodimer upregulate PD-1 expression in T cells. To translate laboratory findings to cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Redd has been working on developing PD-1 small molecule antagonists to block the interaction of PD-1 and PD-L1 so that T cells can keep their effector function to target tumor cells. At the same time, Dr. Redd has been studying another immune suppressive mechanism by which tumor cells bypass immune surveillance through osteopontin (OPN) overproduction. OPN is expressed and secreted by tumor cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the tumor microenvironment. OPN then functions to suppress CTL activation. Dr. Redd is the Principal Investigator of a NCI SBIR grant entitled “OPN neutralization monoclonal antibody 100G2 for human pancreatic cancer immunotherapy.” The goal is to develop a humanized OPN monoclonal antibody to block OPN-induced immune suppression for human pancreatic cancer immunotherapy.

Small molecule and peptide PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors

Professional affiliations:
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Immunologists

Publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Redd%2C%20Priscilla%5BFull%20Author%20Name%5D%20OR%20Simon%2C%20Priscilla%5BFull%20Author%20Name%5D&cmd=DetailsSearch

John D. Klement. Ph.D (MD-Ph.D Student)

SCIENTIST

John obtained his BS degree from Yale University with a major in Biochemistry and research training in immunology. He is currently in the Medical College of George MD-Ph.D program. He completed two years Medical School and just completed his Ph.D degree with distinction. John is expected to obtain his MD degree in two years. John’s major contribution to science is the discovery of OPN as a new immune checkpoint. OPN is a secreted protein that is known to be involved in cancer and other human diseases. The elevated OPN production has been linked to poor prognosis in human cancer, especially colorectal cancer. John discovered for the first time that OPN functions as an immune checkpoint and negatively regulates T cell activation to promote tumor immune evasion. He further determined that tumor cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are the two major sources of OPN in the tumor microenvironment. Based on these findings, four OPN neutralization monoclonal antibodies have been developed. These four OPN monoclonal antibodies have potent efficacy in blocking OPN function in suppression of T cell activation ex vivo. Preliminary studies in preclinical immune competent tumor-bearing mice indicate that these OPN monoclonal antibodies are effective in suppression tumor growth in vivo. He is actively involved in translating his discovery and OPN monoclonal antibodies to human colorectal and pancreatic cancer immunotherapy.

Patent:
US Patent application: No. 62/944,777: Osteopontin Monoclonal Antibodies for Cancer and Osteoporosis Immunotherapy.

Publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/john.klement.1/bibliography/public/

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