Yiping Yang

Overview:

The goal of Dr. Yang’s laboratory is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to the generation of potent and long-lasting anti-tumor immunity, and to develop effective gene immunotherapeutic strategies for treating cancer. Furthermore, rational pre-clinical approaches will be tested in clinical trials in patients with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related malignancies. Specifically, we focus on the following areas:

1. Innate Immunity to Viruses. Recombinant vaccinia virus and adenovirus have been developed as potent vaccine vehicles for treating cancer and infectious diseases. Recent studies have shown that the unique potency of these viruses lies in their effective activation of the innate immune system. How these viruses activate the innate immune system remains largely unknown. We have been interested in the role of pattern-recognition receptors including Toll-like receptors (TLRs)in innate immune recognition of these viruses as well as their signaling pathways. In addition, we are investigating the role of innate immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells in innate and adaptive immune responses to these viruses. A full understanding of these processes will help us design effective vaccine strategies.

2. T Cell Memory. Eliciting long-lived memory T cell response is an ultimate goal of vaccination to provide long-term immunity against cancer. However, it is not clear what controls the formation of long-lived memory T cells. The understanding of mechanisms underlying memory T cell formation will provide important insights into the design of effective vaccines for treating cancer.

3. Regulatory T Cell Biology. Accumulating evidence has shown that the immunosuppressive CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (TReg) play a critical role in the suppression of anti-tumor immunity. However, little is known about how TReg suppress T cell activation in vivo. Delineation of mechanisms underlying TReg-mediated suppression in vivo will help develop strategies to overcome TReg-mediated suppression in favor of boosting anti-tumor immunity.

4. Immunotherapy for EBV-associated Malignancies. Clinically, EBV-associated malignancies such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma offer a unique model to explore antigen-defined immunotherapy approaches because EBV-derived tumor antigens are specific for tumor cells only. Using this clinical model, we will test the utility of rational strategies identified in our preclinical models.

Positions:

Professor of Medicine

Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
School of Medicine

Professor of Immunology

Immunology
School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute
School of Medicine

Education:

M.D. 1985

Zhejiang University (China)

Ph.D. 1993

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Residency, General Internal Medicine

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Fellowship, Medical Oncology

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Grants:

Role of hedgehog signaling in tumor-associated macrophage polarization

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

T memory stem cells in cancer

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Novel Strategies for Cancer Immunotherapy in Stem Cell Transplant

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Role of Endogenous Toll-Like Receptor Ligands in Allospecific T Cell Activation

Administered By
Surgery, Abdominal Transplant Surgery
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Mentor
Start Date
End Date

Role of inflammation in cancer progression

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Publications:

Natural killer cell responses to viral infection.

Natural killer (NK) cells, as part of the innate immune system, play a key role in host defense against viral infections. Recent advances have indicated that NK cell activation and function are regulated by the interplay between inhibitory and activating signals. Thus, a better understanding of mechanisms responsible for NK cell activation and function in the control of viral infections will help develop NK cell-based therapies. In this review, we will first discuss how NK cells are activated in response to viral infections. We will then focus on the recruitment of activated NK cells to the site of infection as well as on NK cell effector mechanisms against virally infected cells.
Authors
Brandstadter, JD; Yang, Y
MLA Citation
Brandstadter, Joshua D., and Yiping Yang. “Natural killer cell responses to viral infection..” J Innate Immun, vol. 3, no. 3, 2011, pp. 274–79. Pubmed, doi:10.1159/000324176.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub807218
PMID
21411975
Source
pubmed
Published In
J Innate Immun
Volume
3
Published Date
Start Page
274
End Page
279
DOI
10.1159/000324176

STAT1 signaling in CD8 T cells is required for their clonal expansion and memory formation following viral infection in vivo.

Recent advances have shown that direct type I IFN signaling on T cells is required for their efficient expansion in response to viral infections in vivo. It is not clear which intracellular signaling molecule is responsible for this effect. Although STAT1 has been shown to mediate many of the type I IFN-dependent biological effects, its role in T cells remains uncertain in vivo. In this study, we demonstrated that STAT1 signaling in CD8 T cells was required for their efficient expansion by promoting the survival of activated CD8 T cells upon vaccinia viral infection in vivo, suggesting that the direct effect of type I IFNs on CD8 T cells is mediated by STAT1. Furthermore, effector CD8 T cells that lack STAT1 signaling did not survive the contraction phase to differentiate into long-lived memory cells. These results identify a critical role for type I IFN-STAT1 signaling in multiple stages of CD8 T cell response in vivo and suggest that strategies to activate type I IFN-STAT1 signaling pathway may enhance vaccine potency.
Authors
Quigley, M; Huang, X; Yang, Y
MLA Citation
Quigley, Michael, et al. “STAT1 signaling in CD8 T cells is required for their clonal expansion and memory formation following viral infection in vivo..” J Immunol, vol. 180, no. 4, Feb. 2008, pp. 2158–64. Pubmed, doi:10.4049/jimmunol.180.4.2158.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub777573
PMID
18250422
Source
pubmed
Published In
The Journal of Immunology
Volume
180
Published Date
Start Page
2158
End Page
2164
DOI
10.4049/jimmunol.180.4.2158

Amelioration of collagen-induced arthritis by CD95 (Apo-1/Fas)-ligand gene transfer.

Both rheumatoid arthritis and animal models of autoimmune arthritis are characterized by hyperactivation of synovial cells and hyperplasia of the synovial membrane. The activated synovial cells produce inflammatory cytokines and degradative enzymes that lead to destruction of cartilage and bones. Effective treatment of arthritis may require elimination of most or all activated synovial cells. The death factor Fas/Apo-1 and its ligand (FasL) play pivotal roles in maintaining self-tolerance and immune privilege. Fas is expressed constitutively in most tissues, and is dramatically upregulated at the site of inflammation. In both rheumatoid arthritis and animal models of autoimmune arthritis, high levels of Fas are expressed on activated synovial cells and infiltrating leukocytes in the inflamed joints. Unlike Fas, however, the levels of FasL expressed in the arthritic joints are extremely low, and most activated synovial cells survive despite high levels of Fas expression. To upregulate FasL expression in the arthritic joints, we have generated a recombinant replication-defective adenovirus carrying FasL gene; injection of the FasL virus into inflamed joints conferred high levels of FasL expression, induced apoptosis of synovial cells, and ameliorated collagen-induced arthritis in DBA/1 mice. The Fas-ligand virus also inhibited production of interferon-gamma by collagen-specific T cells. Coadministration of Fas-immunoglobulin fusion protein with the Fas-ligand virus prevented these effects, demonstrating the specificity of the Fas-ligand virus. Thus, FasL gene transfer at the site of inflammation effectively ameliorates autoimmune disease.
Authors
Zhang, H; Yang, Y; Horton, JL; Samoilova, EB; Judge, TA; Turka, LA; Wilson, JM; Chen, Y
MLA Citation
Zhang, H., et al. “Amelioration of collagen-induced arthritis by CD95 (Apo-1/Fas)-ligand gene transfer..” J Clin Invest, vol. 100, no. 8, Oct. 1997, pp. 1951–57. Pubmed, doi:10.1172/JCI119726.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub807233
PMID
9329958
Source
pubmed
Published In
The Journal of Clinical Investigation
Volume
100
Published Date
Start Page
1951
End Page
1957
DOI
10.1172/JCI119726

MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes to viral antigens destroy hepatocytes in mice infected with E1-deleted recombinant adenoviruses.

The use of E1-deleted recombinant adenoviruses in gene therapy has consistently been associated with transient gene expression and inflammation due to immune-based destruction of the infected cells. We have used murine models of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to liver to investigate these immunologic mechanisms. Adoptive transfer experiments, as well as studies involving genetic knockout mice, confirmed the original hypothesis that cell-mediated immunity induced by E1-deleted adenovirus destroyed trans-gene-expressing hepatocytes and defined MHC class I-restricted CD8+ cytolytic lymphocytes as the primary immune effectors for hepatocyte destruction. Responses mediated by CD4+ cells per se were insufficient to mediate destruction of hepatocytes in vivo, despite the activation of virus-specific T helper cells of Th1 subsets. A better understanding of the response of the host to in vivo gene therapy is important in evaluating its usefulness in humans.
Authors
Yang, Y; Ertl, HC; Wilson, JM
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub807252
PMID
7533647
Source
pubmed
Published In
Immunity
Volume
1
Published Date
Start Page
433
End Page
442

Immunomodulatory activities of pixatimod: emerging nonclinical and clinical data, and its potential utility in combination with PD-1 inhibitors.

BACKGROUND: Pixatimod (PG545) is a novel clinical-stage immunomodulatory agent capable of inhibiting the infiltration of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) yet also stimulate dendritic cells (DCs), leading to activation of natural killer (NK) cells. Preclinically, pixatimod inhibits heparanase (HPSE) which may be associated with its inhibitory effect on TAMs whereas its immunostimulatory activity on DCs is through the MyD88-dependent TLR9 pathway. Pixatimod recently completed a Phase Ia monotherapy trial in advanced cancer patients. METHODS: To characterize the safety of pixatimod administered by intravenous (IV) infusion, a one month toxicology study was conducted to support a Phase Ia monotherapy clinical trial. The relative exposure (AUC) of pixatimod across relevant species was determined and the influence of route of administration on the immunomodulatory activity was also evaluated. Finally, the potential utility of pixatimod in combination with PD-1 inhibition was also investigated using the syngeneic 4T1.2 breast cancer model. RESULTS: The nonclinical safety profile revealed that the main toxicities associated with pixatimod are elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, APTT, decreased platelets and other changes symptomatic of modulating the immune system such as pyrexia, changes in WBC subsets, inflammatory changes in liver, spleen and kidney. Though adverse events such as fever, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides were reported in the Phase Ia trial, none were considered dose limiting toxicities and the compound was well tolerated up to 100 mg via IV infusion. Exposure (AUC) up to 100 mg was considered proportional with some accumulation upon repeated dosing, a phenomenon also noted in the toxicology study. The immunomodulatory activity of pixatimod was independent of the route of administration and it enhanced the effectiveness of PD-1 inhibition in a poorly immunogenic tumor model. CONCLUSIONS: Pixatimod modulates innate immune cells but also enhances T cell infiltration in combination with anti-PD-1 therapy. The safety and PK profile of the compound supports its ongoing development in a Phase Ib study for advanced cancer/pancreatic adenocarcinoma with the checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo®). TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02042781 . First posted: 23 January, 2014 - Retrospectively registered.
Authors
Hammond, E; Haynes, NM; Cullinane, C; Brennan, TV; Bampton, D; Handley, P; Karoli, T; Lanksheer, F; Lin, L; Yang, Y; Dredge, K
MLA Citation
Hammond, Edward, et al. “Immunomodulatory activities of pixatimod: emerging nonclinical and clinical data, and its potential utility in combination with PD-1 inhibitors..” J Immunother Cancer, vol. 6, no. 1, June 2018. Pubmed, doi:10.1186/s40425-018-0363-5.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1325511
PMID
29898788
Source
pubmed
Published In
Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer
Volume
6
Published Date
Start Page
54
DOI
10.1186/s40425-018-0363-5

Research Areas:

Acute Disease
Adaptive Immunity
Adenoviridae
Adenoviridae Infections
Adenovirus E1A Proteins
Adenovirus E1B Proteins
Adenoviruses, Human
Adjuvants, Immunologic
Adoptive Transfer
Aged
Alternative Splicing
Antibody Formation
Antigen Presentation
Antigens, CD4
Antigens, CD8
Antigens, Neoplasm
Antigens, Viral
Antineoplastic Agents
Autoantigens
Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmunity
Blotting, Western
CD4 Antigens
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
Cell Proliferation
Chaperonins
Chloride Channels
Coculture Techniques
Combined Modality Therapy
Cyclic AMP
Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
Cytokines
Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
DNA, Viral
Dendritic Cells
Dependovirus
Disease Models, Animal
Electric Conductivity
Endoplasmic Reticulum
Endosomes
Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
Female
Flow Cytometry
Gene Deletion
Gene Knock-In Techniques
Gene Transfer Techniques
Gene therapy
Genes, Bacterial
Genes, Viral
Genetic Therapy
Germinal Center
Glucose
Graft vs Host Disease
Growth Inhibitors
HLA Antigens
HLA-C Antigens
Heat-Shock Proteins
Hemagglutinins
Hematologic Neoplasms
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Heparitin Sulfate
Histocompatibility
Histocompatibility Testing
Humans
Immune System
Immune Tolerance
Immunity, Cellular
Immunity, Innate
Immunologic Memory
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunotherapy
Influenza A virus
Interferon Type I
Interferon-beta
Interleukin-10
Interleukin-12
Interleukin-13
Interleukin-2
Interleukin-6
Killer Cells, Natural
Luciferases
Lung Neoplasms
Lymphocyte Activation
Lymphocyte Depletion
Lymphocyte Transfusion
Lymphocytes
Lymphoma
Lymphopenia
Macrophages
Male
Membrane Glycoproteins
Mice
Mice, Inbred BALB C
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Mice, Inbred CBA
Mice, Knockout
Mice, Mutant Strains
Mice, Nude
Mice, Transgenic
Microsomes
Middle Aged
Mitosis
Molecular Sequence Data
Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Myeloid Cells
Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
Neoplasms
North Carolina
Oocytes
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation
Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
RNA, Messenger
Receptors, Cell Surface
Receptors, Interleukin-1
Receptors, KIR
Recombinant Proteins
Retrospective Studies
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Risk Factors
STAT1 Transcription Factor
Sequence Deletion
Stem Cell Transplantation
Survival Rate
T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity
T-Lymphocytes
T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic
T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory
Toll-Like Receptor 2
Toll-Like Receptor 4
Toll-Like Receptor 8
Toll-Like Receptor 9
Toll-Like Receptors
Transfection
Transgenes
Transplantation Conditioning
Transplantation, Homologous
Tumor Escape
Vaccines
Vaccinia
Vaccinia virus
Virus Diseases
Viruses
Xenopus
beta-Galactosidase