Dr. Shawn Li receives CCS Innovation Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Shawn Li in the Dept. of Biochemistry for being awarded a 2-year Innovation Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). Innovation Grants support high-risk ideas with promise for high rewards in cancer research. Applications are peer reviewed by multidisciplinary panels of scientific experts.

Dr. Li's research will examine the "Mechanism of resistance to anti-PD-1/L1 immunotherapy and strategies to overcome resistance." PD-1 (Programmed cell death protein 1) binds to its ligand PD-L1 and negatively regulates the immune system to prevent auto-immune diseases. PD-L1 is also expressed on some cancer cells, allowing them to down-regulate and evade the immune response. Some success in cancer treatment has been achieved using targeted immunotherapy to block the action of PD-1/L1. However, some tumours are resistant to such treatment, and others develop resistance after such therapy. Dr. Li's lab will determine how such resistance occurs at the molecular level in order to advance more effective cancer treatments.