Lawrence Fong, MD

Efim Guzik Distinguished Professor in Cancer Biology
Leader, Cancer Immunotherapy Program
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Division of Hematology and Oncology
Department of Medicine
Department of Urology
+1 415 514-3160
Research Overview: 

Our lab focuses upon defining the mechanisms that underly responses to cancer immunotherapy. We have focused on approaches to prime immune responses through vaccines. Our initial work developed autologous dendritic cell vaccines targeting shared tumor associated antigens both in preclinical models and also in patients. This approach helped to lay the groundwork for the FDA-approved cancer vaccine sipuleucel-T. We have continued to study how this approach as well as approaches for endogenous vaccination with cancer therapies can serve to prime anti-tumor immune responses.

We have also focused on how immune checkpoints can modulate anti-tumor immune responses both in mouse models and in patients. This includes track immune responses through the use of MHC-peptide tetramers and next generation sequencing of antigen receptors. Through this work, we have also identified mechanisms of resistance to our current immunotherapies.  Future work will focus on identifying novel determinants of response to immunotherapies as well as novel targets for future therapies.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Research Summary: 
Mechanism of response and resistance to cancer immunotherapy



Intratumoral plasmid IL-12 electroporation therapy in advanced melanoma patients induces systemic and intratumoral T cell responses.

Cancer immunology research

Greaney SK, Algazi AP, Tsai KK, Takamura KT, Chen L, Twitty CG, Zhang L, Paciorek A, Pierce RH, Le MH, Daud AI, Fong L

Adenosine A2A Receptor Blockade as an Immunotherapy for Treatment-Refractory Renal Cell Cancer.

Cancer discovery

Fong L, Hotson A, Powderly J, Sznol M, Heist RS, Choueiri TK, George S, Hughes BG, Hellmann MD, Shepard DR, Rini BI, Kummar S, Weise AM, Riese MJ, Markman B, Emens LA, Mahadevan D, Luke JJ, Laport G, Brody JD, Hernandez-Aya L, Bonomi P, Goldman JW, Berim L, Renouf DJ, Goodwin RA, Munneke B, Ho PY, Hsieh J, McCaffery I, Kwei L, Willingham SB, Miller RA

Phase II Trial of a DNA Vaccine Encoding Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (pTVG-HP [MVI-816]) in Patients With Progressive, Nonmetastatic, Castration-Sensitive Prostate Cancer.

Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

McNeel DG, Eickhoff JC, Johnson LE, Roth AR, Perk TG, Fong L, Antonarakis ES, Wargowski E, Jeraj R, Liu G

Assessment of the Safety of Pembrolizumab in Patients With HIV and Advanced Cancer-A Phase 1 Study.

JAMA oncology

Uldrick TS, Gonçalves PH, Abdul-Hay M, Claeys AJ, Emu B, Ernstoff MS, Fling SP, Fong L, Kaiser JC, Lacroix AM, Lee SY, Lundgren LM, Lurain K, Parsons CH, Peeramsetti S, Ramaswami R, Sharon E, Sznol M, Wang CJ, Yarchoan R, Cheever MA