The core research interest of Hong Qin, M.D., Ph.D., is the translational development of novel immunotherapies against blood cancer, including cancer vaccines, antibody therapies and adoptive chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy.
Key scientific accomplishments resulting from Dr. Qin's research include translational development of a lymphoma vaccine that has been tested in a human study, unique antibody-based therapeutics targeting blood cancer and the tumor immune microenvironment, and a novel CAR‐T cell therapy that's currently on its way to a first‐in‐human clinical trial treating patients with leukemia. These accomplishments have shaped his research direction into an immunotherapeutic development "pipeline," which can be summarized with three d's: discovery, development and delivery.
- Discovery of antibodies. Dr. Qin's antibody discovery research is focused on developing monoclonal antibodies against both well‐characterized and unknown antigens. To accomplish the former objective, he pairs hybridoma techniques with antigen‐expressing live cell immunization. For the latter, he employs phage display technology to screen live target cells for unique cell surface markers.
- Development of immunotherapy. Dr. Qin is focused on developing novel immune-oncology drugs against lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. Antibody-based therapeutics include monoclonal antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates and BiTe antibodies. Adoptive T cell therapy is focused on developing novel CAR-T cell therapies including bi- and tri-specific CAR, armored CAR, and combinational CAR-T cell therapy.
- Delivery of drugs to patients. Dr. Qin's immunotherapeutic development pipeline is ultimately aimed at drug delivery to patients. This final step includes development of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard operating procedures, quality control releasing assays, studies enabling investigational new drugs and clinical trial design. He is establishing a process development lab and GMP facility to accomplish these goals.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Qin's research aims at discovery of new therapeutic targets for advancing cancer immunotherapy. He is also developing new strategies to overcome hurdles preventing the curative potential of immunotherapy for patients with cancer. Translation of bench discoveries to the bedside will be dramatically facilitated by in-house GMP production of unique therapeutics. These innovative therapeutic products will give new hope to patients with cancer for whom other therapeutic options have failed.