Cassian Yee, MD

Cassian Yee, MD
Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Yee is a Professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Department of Immunology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and Director of the Solid Tumor Cell Therapy Program. He previously held the position of Professor at Division of Oncology at the University of Washington and a Member in Program in Immunology, Clinical Research Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He received his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in Canada and trained as a research fellow at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto before continuing his medical residency at Stanford University. He went on to complete a fellowship in medical oncology and postdoctoral research studies at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is a recipient of the Cancer Research Institute Investigator Award and the Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Clinical Investigator Award. He is also a Burroughs Wellcome Scientist in Translational Research and elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

The Yee Lab is developing adoptive cellular therapy as a treatment modality for patients with malignant and viral diseases. Over the last 18 years, Dr. Yee's research has been focused on the isolation of autologous antigen-specific T cells from the peripheral blood, manipulation of immune modulating parameters to enhance effector function and persistence and their expansion to numbers sufficient for adoptive transfer and in vivo tracking. His lab has performed several first-in-man studies using a well-defined, uniform population of ex vivo expanded antigen-specific T cells to delineate the requirements for effective immune-based therapies. His team described the first successful use of a patient's own T-cells as the sole therapy to put advanced melanoma into long-term remission. Recently, he demonstrated for the first time that human T cells can become longlasting memory cells after infusion and, when combined with a checkpoint inhibitor, halt tumor growth in patients with metastatic melanoma.  By manipulating intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing the effector phenotype and their in vivo persistence and function, he is applying combinational strategies such as this to treat patients with solid tumor malignant and viral diseases.