Chemical engineer receives major grant for immunotherapy research

Jun 25, 2019

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

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Yvonne Chen, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a $1.25 million grant from the Cancer Research Institute to support her studies of immunotherapies for cancer.

Chen, who is also a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, seeks to build better CAR-T cells, which are a type of white blood cell enhanced with engineered surface proteins that can recognize and kill tumor cells.

She is part of an inaugural group of five researchers selected for the institute’s Lloyd J. Old STAR Program (for “Scientists Taking Risks”). The new program was named after the organization’s founding scientific and medical director. It supports highly promising researchers with outstanding accomplishments and are on a track to become “stars” in cancer immunology.

The institute announced the five recipients on Friday, June 21, at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.

Chen is also a member researcher in the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

The Cancer Research Institute, based in New York City, is a non-profit organization that supports research in using the immune system in therapies and potentially cures for all types of cancer. Established in 1953, the organization has invested more than $400 million in cancer research.

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