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Dr. Zihai Li

Endowed Chair in Cancer Stem Cell Biology

Cancer Stem Cell Biology
CENTER OF ECONOMIC EXCELLENCE

  • An expert in cancer immunology—finding ways to help immune systems recognize and fight cancer cells and control tumor growth.
  • Pioneered the use of human stem cells in the creation of a vaccine to protect against colon cancer and other types of cancer.
  • Performed the world’s first clinical test on the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia with autologous heat shock protein vaccine, a patented technology.
  • PhD, Immunology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • MD, Henan Medical University and Peking Union Medical College
  • Fellowship, Medical Oncology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Zihai Li is an expert in the field of cancer immunology—finding ways to help the body's immune system recognize and fight cancer cells and control tumor growth. Types of immunotherapy, such as cancer vaccines and antibody treatment, have the potential to be more effective, more targeted, and less toxic than traditional cancer treatments. 

Dr. Li’s research captured international attention when his study was published in the October 2009 issue of Stem Cells. The study revealed the potential for human stem cells to be used in the creation of a vaccine to protect against colon cancer and potentially for other types of cancer as well. Other discoveries include identifying a master chaperone for Toll-like receptors and uncovering the underlying mechanisms.

His work could lead to new, more effective cell-based therapies and drugs to help the immune system fight cancer. These innovations have the potential to save or prolong life as well as create business development opportunities for South Carolina.

Dr. Li holds a U.S. patent and four investigational new drug applications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is a clinical scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

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