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AACR-Incyte Fellowships

The AACR-Incyte Fellowships represent a joint effort to encourage and support young mentored investigators to conduct cancer research and to establish a successful career path in this field. Eligibility is limited to postdoctoral and clinical research fellows who have completed their most recent doctoral degree within the past five years. The research proposed for funding may be basic, translational, or clinical in nature.

2019 Grantee

AACR-Incyte Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship
Won Jin Ho, MD

Won Jin Ho, MD

Clinical Fellow
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Interrogating the role of PTPN22 in antitumor immunity

Scientific Statement of Research
Recently, strategies aimed at harnessing the antitumor immune response have been met with revolutionary success, but the majority of cancer patients still do not respond to immunotherapy, warranting the ongoing search for novel strategies. Similar to how alterations in checkpoint signaling molecules, e.g. CTLA-4 and PD-1, have demonstrated their association with various autoimmune diseases, several epidemiological studies have shown that a single nucleotide polymorphism in PTPN22, a physiologic regulator of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling, is also associated with autoimmune diseases. Since robust TCR signaling is critical to successful antitumor immunity, the function of PTPN22 as delineated by studies in autoimmune contexts presents a unique opportunity to be exploited toward cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Ho proposes to interrogate the role of PTPN22 in antitumor immunity, thereby identifying a novel immunotherapeutic target to bolster TCR signaling and improve the antitumor immune responses.

Dr. Ho is currently a second-year medical oncology fellow at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Ho attended medical school at Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed a research track internal medicine residency as an NIH F32 postdoctoral fellow at Case Western Reserve University studying the role of prostaglandin-mediated inflammation on colitis-associated carcinogenesis with Dr. Sanford Markowitz as his mentor. Dr. Ho is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee to better understand the immune tumor microenvironment and to ultimately improve cancer therapies for patients.

Acknowledgement of Support
I am absolutely humbled and thrilled to have been selected as a recipient of 2019 AACR-Incyte Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship. This fellowship will be formative in my growth as a physician-scientist, and I hope that this work will contribute to a novel immunotherapeutic approach to treating cancer patients.